Cinema: Soderbergh's Choice

The director hits homers with Erin Brockovich and Traffic, thus facing off against himself in the Oscar race

Life as Steven Soderbergh then knew it came to end when he was 12 years old. He had been quite a baseball player, one of the best you could find among the boys in Baton Rouge, La. But in 1975 his talent mysteriously disappeared. "I woke up one morning, and I didn't have it," he recalls. "And I knew that I wasn't gonna be able to get it back. Whatever the thing was, it was just gone."

Soderbergh reluctantly hung up his baseball cap. He had another gift, however, and that was about to blossom. By the time he was in...

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