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This is rare, nuanced storytelling, anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career-best performances and remarkable technical elements on every level. It’s a special film.

Where's My Roy Cohn?

"Homosexuals have AIDS. I have liver cancer." That corrosive line from Tony Kushner's acclaimed play "Angels in America" is delivered by the character of Roy Cohn,…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Chaz Ebert's Statement on Today's Oscar Nominations

While I am sad and disappointed that "Life Itself" was not nominated for an Academy Award, I take comfort in knowing that anyone who has seen the movie knows what an achievement it is, and what a great job Steve James did in making it.  This is a movie for the ages; Roger's messages about love and living your life with passion no matter what challenges befall you will resonate for a long long time. 

What Roger found in his 46 years of championing the movies and in his 71 years of life itself, is that it is not divisions or fear that push us forward, but love. Love in the face of all the unforeseen challenges is the binding force that brings people together, and helps us develop empathy and compassion for each other. 

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I congratulate all the nominees in the Documentary category, as I see the documentary filmmakers and the people and issues they bring to our attention as needed heroes in today’s world.  And I send out a particularly affectionate congratulations to Charlie Siskel, Gene Siskel’s nephew, for his nomination for “Finding Vivian Maier.”

And I express one sadness, that Ava DuVernay was not nominated for her amazing achievement in directing “Selma.” I applaud its inclusion in the Best Picture category.

Finally, as I reflect on the nominations, I am actually smiling as I know that the person most proud of “Life Itself” has no need for trophies these days. On his deathbed, Roger spoke of visiting this beautiful place where the past, present and future exist simultaneously and where there is a divine oneness that binds us all together, more vastly beautiful than we could ever comprehend. I think he has all the trophies he will ever need. 


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