The great master filmmaker Robert Altman died last night at a Los Angeles hospital. The writer-director pretty much pioneered a new style of movies using multiple characters and storylines with overlapping dialogue and plots, and he continued making movies well through a time when those he influenced were attempting to copy him. Last year, while shooting A Prairie Home Companion, Altman was assisted by Paul Thomas Anderson, whose Magnolia was almost like a remake of Altman's Short Cuts, just in case the elder filmmaker was to pass on. He didn't.

I guess I took it for granted that he might just continue making movies forever, but at 81, Altman had given us so many classic films, that I can't be too selfishly upset to see him go. I'm going to spend the rest of the day celebrating his life and work rather than sulking in mourning. Many of my favorite films were directed by Altman. He made my favorite western (McCabe & Mrs. Miller), my favorite movie about Hollywood (The Player), my favorite movie about the Korean War (MASH), my favorite wedding movie (A Wedding) and my favorite movie about country music (Nashville). I'm even a big fan of Popeye.

Altman was nominated for five directing Oscars, but never won an Academy Award until he was given an honorary award at this year's ceremony.