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Oscars: The Morning After

I’ve always looked forward to the Academy Awards, so I don’t want to sound jaded in discussing this year’s seemingly endless road to the Dolby Theatre. But here is how I feel, the morning after:

If just one person sees Spotlight who hadn’t been interested before (even in Compton)…

If only one moviegoer seeks out the gripping Foreign Language Film winner Son of Saul

If just a handful of viewers are now aware of such bright young talents as Brie Larson (check out Short Term 12) and Alicia Vikander (don’t miss Ex Machina)…

If more people recognize one of the finest actors of our time, Mark Rylance (primarily a stage actor who made such a strong impression inBridge of Spies and the recent miniseries Wolf Hall)…

If the impassioned speeches about rape on campus and the urgent need to address climate change have an effect on anyone in the worldwide Oscar audience…

And if the Hollywood film industry realizes that it needs to be more inclusive, not as a sign of tokenism but as a reflection of contemporary society…

…then all the hoopla, campaigning, controversy, and attendant blather has been worthwhile. The Academy Awards don’t, and can’t, exist in a vacuum…but good work and good movies were honored last night, and that’s what the Oscars are supposed to do.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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