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Best of Delaware 2011: Shopping and Services: Best Hollywood Ambassador: Oscar winner Luke Matheny Does the First State Proud.

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It’s 2 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, and the kids packed into the Concord High School auditorium are minutes away from sweet freedom.

And yet they sit, rapt and glued to their chairs, while a gangly man with an Afro and an Oscar presides onstage.

Luke Matheny, a Concord grad, was back in Delaware for the first time since winning his Academy Award for Best Live Action Short at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. The kids inside got to witness Matheny’s film, “God of Love,” plus the goofy, lovable magnetism of Matheny himself.

In February, Matheny thanked “the great state of Delaware” during his charming and well-received acceptance speech when his film “God of Love”—a comedic take on the classic Cupid story—took home Oscar gold in front of 37 million American viewers. New York magazine’s Vulture blog called Matheny’s speech one of the best moments of the night, adding, “Matheny gave a sweet and polished speech that also displayed just enough of his goofy charm to immediately win over the audience.”

The whole state warmed in the afterglow. Matheny, meanwhile, became the toast of Hollywood, mingling post-Oscars with Tom Hanks, Justin Timberlake, Kevin Spacey, Michelle Williams and other luminaries.

The Oscar itself wasn’t in Delaware long. It now resides with mom, DiAnn Matheny, in Florida, so Luke can work on his next project without the added pressure and distraction of his trophy. “The only thing you win in this business is the ability to do more work,” he says.

But in February, Matheny’s win was Delaware’s to share, and perhaps our proudest moment this year. Gov. Jack Markell, following the screening at Concord, made Luke “Delaware’s Ambassador to Hollywood.”

We have a feeling he’ll represent us well. —Matt Amis
 

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