From ‘West Side Story’ to ‘Dune,’ Established Directors Delve Into Uncharted Territory for Oscar Recognition

An assembly line follows a simple formula.

Use the most efficient way to mass-produce something and repeat.

Some filmmakers can get away with that approach for a time.

The ones who challenge themselves to work outside their comfort zones add skills to their tool kits, and, not coincidentally, often find themselves in the mix when awards season rolls around.Steven Spielberg has directed dozens of films in many genres, but this year’s “West Side Story” adaptation marked his first movie musical.

Even for a director who has brought aliens, dinosaurs and the invasion of Normandy to the screen, the project spurred anxiety.

“Fear is my fuel and confidence is my enemy,” Spielberg told the Guardian about the project.

“If I’m on my heels, I get better ideas than, let’s say, coming in to do the sequel to ‘Jurassic Park.’”That fear of working in uncharted waters helped

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