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The Nominees: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood”; Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”; Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”; Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”

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Agents are compensated for their planning and execution in various ways. Some receive commissions paid by travel suppliers. Others charge consulting fees sometimes determined by the number of people traveling and the complexity of the trip. Still, others rely on a combination of both. Families also benefit from top agents' access to upgrades, value-added options and other perks they can pass on to their clients. For many busy parents and grandparents, handing off the job of trip planning to a professional is key to avoiding procrastination and getting a vacation on the calendar. And should your trip take a surprising turn, a good agent will have your back to help with canceled flights, unexpected health challenges or your need for a last-minute shift in the itinerary.

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If you are eager to take a cruise, visit a Disney resort or explore a specific country or region, using an agent with that specialty can pay big dividends. Those pros can sort through the long list of cruise lines for the brand that best matches your travel dreams. They'll know how to book the best cabins, sort through meal and activity options and provide insight into how each member of the family might make the most of the sailing. Theme park pros know the best weeks to visit, have tips for avoiding long lines and which lodging options will work well for your crew. Eager to explore Italy? Find an agent who can steer you toward family-friendly accommodations, kid-friendly guides and an itinerary that will appeal to every age group.

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A good agent can help incorporate travel into your family's educational plan. Are you interested in boosting the year's school curriculum by adding literary or historical sites to your travel itineraries? Do you want more art, music and theater in the mix? A good agent can help create a week, month, summer or multiyear plan that marries your family's educational goals with your love of travel.

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The former CIA agent, recruited at age 21, tells about learning how to get out of car trunks, track arms deals and predict terror cells. Publishers Weekly says the book reads like a "great espionage novel." But no longer undercover, Fox now co-hosts the History Channel's "American Ripper." (Knopf; Oct. 15) 

As college athletes have filed one antitrust lawsuit after another demanding they be paid, the NCAA and its legion of attorneys have proffered various, convoluted legal defenses to preserve its sacred notion of amateurism, claiming the public's interest in college sports would diminish if they got paychecks, claiming the athletes would not harmoniously integrate into their academic ...

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