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Much ink has been spilled about the film Academy’s miserliness toward Steven Spielberg in the years leading up to his best picture and director wins for 1993’s Schindler’s List. Much less, however, has been said of the celebrated auteur’s Charlie Brown/football relationship to the TV Academy. His first Emmy nomination came in 1986 for the anthology series Amazing Stories, which Spielberg created and executive produced. The title for the 1985-87 NBC show was derived from the sci-fi magazine of the same name, which published from 1926 to 2005
and featured the short-story debuts of such luminaries as Isaac Asimov and Ursula K. Le Guin. The series, whose first season had 10 noms, featured a similar melange of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, with chapters directed by the likes of Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. (Yes, Burt Reynolds.) Spielberg helmed two episodes, and one earned him a directing nom: “The Mission,” about a young World War II gunner who gets trapped in the cargo hold of his plane (captained by Kevin Costner, then 30).
He lost to Georg Stanford Brown; the Roots star’s work on an episode of Cagney & Lacey outshone the Jaws director in the eyes of the Academy. It would take two more tries until Spielberg finally brought an Emmy home — for executive producing 1995’s A Pinky & the Brain Christmas.
This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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