Roger Ebert Oscars

I Saw Roger Ebert at the Oscars -- Did You?

When I went to see the Oscar-nominated Selma directed by Ava DuVernay, I wondered what Roger Ebert would think of it.

What kind of review would he write? How would he write it? What personal experiences would he bring to it? It's these types of questions I always ask myself when I go to the movies. Every time I go see something in a theater, I never really go in alone, but Roger Ebert comes with me, as with questions of what Roger would write.

These are questions that will never be answered.

We will never know what Ebert thought about Selma or Boyhood. We will never know what criticism or nugget of wisdom he would give us about Birdman or The Theory of Everything. We are unknowing, because Ebert is no longer with us.

In death, Ebert's silence is deafening. I miss his presence deeply, and I read his past reviews in hopes of somehow grasping an idea of how he could write reviews that were so humble, human and full of empathy and compassion.

Ebert, as a critic, transcended film criticism.

His influence on movies is tremendous, which is why when the Oscar nominations for "Best Documentary Feature" went up, I - as long with many others - was heartbroken and livid that Steve James' documentary about Pulitzer prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert's life, Life Itself was not among the nominees. I was in disbelief.

Life Itself, directed by Steve James, was a documentary film about a writer who changed the way we view movies today. James carefully assembled a history of Ebert's life, detailing his early start in journalism as a student journalist at the Illini, his rise at the Chicago Sun-Times, his fame as a television film critic, his alcoholism, his sobriety, his women, his love for movies, his rivalry and friendship with Gene Siskel. Within the film, we saw rare footage of Ebert in his last days, full of humor to the end.

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