Director Steven Spielberg was recently named one of Smithsonian Magazine's "35 Who Made a Difference". The feature highlights "geniuses" of our time -- specifically innovators, movers and shakers who have both made a difference in our lives today and will inspire future generations to carry on in their stead. Spielberg is in lofty company; the list includes such notables as Wynton Marsalis, Yo-Yo Ma, Annie Leibovitz, Maya Angelou, Sally Ride, and a host of other people whose names you've probably never heard of, but who nonetheless are innovators in their fields.
It's interesting that Spielberg is the only filmmaker on the list (maybe they only wanted one person from film for some reason). Even more interesting, though, is that the article about Spielberg focuses less on the films people generally think of when they think Spielberg - stuff like Jaws, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones - than on Spielberg's remarkable knack for dramatizing history through films such as Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and Empire of the Sun. We'll get to see more of "historical" Spielberg with the upcoming Munich, of course, and he also has an untitled Abraham Lincoln project in the works.
If you were choosing just one filmmaker to immortalize on a list of innovators who have made a difference, would Spielberg be your choice? If not, then who would you choose, and why? I'll just warn you upfront, though: choose Uwe Boll and we'll never,everinvite you over for dinner.