A. O. Scott

A. O. Scott
Born Anthony Oliver Scott
(1966-07-10) July 10, 1966
Northampton, Massachusetts, United States[1]
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Journalist, film critic
Children 2
Parent(s) Joan Wallach Scott
Donald Scott
Relatives Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson

Anthony Oliver Scott (born July 10, 1966) is an American journalist and film critic. Along with Manohla Dargis, he serves as chief film critic for The New York Times.

Early life

Scott was born in Northampton, Massachusetts. Both of his parents were professors. His mother, Joan Wallach Scott, is the Harold F. Linder Professor at the School of Social Science in the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[2] His father, Donald Scott, is a professor of American history at The City University of New York (CUNY). He is a great nephew of the married acting couple Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson (his maternal grandfather was Eli's brother).[3] Scott is Jewish on his mother's side.[4] Scott attended public schools in Providence, Rhode Island, including Classical High School. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1988 with a degree in literature.

He has a son named Ezra and a daughter named Carmen.


Scott began his career at The New York Review of Books, where he served as an assistant to Robert B. Silvers.[5] He then served as book critic for Newsday, and also as a contributor to The New York Review of Books and Slate magazine.

He joined The New York Times' Arts section in January 2000, following Janet Maslin's retirement from film criticism. (Maslin continues to review genre fiction for the paper.) In 2004 he became chief critic, following Elvis Mitchell's resignation. He and the other film critics at the Times host a video podcast on the subject of film, called Critics' Picks.[6]

Scott is particularly fond of the work of Mary McCarthy, calling her novel The Group one of the greatest of the 20th century. He contributed a foreword to her collection A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays.


In 2006 and 2007, Scott served repeatedly as guest critic on Ebert & Roeper with Richard Roeper in Roger Ebert's absence due to illness. He and Roeper counted down their selections for the top ten films of 2006 and again for 2007. Although Scott did not appear on the show for most of 2008, he continued to release his own list through The New York Times. On October 24, 2009, Scott began counting down his "Best of the Decade" list on At the Movies.

On August 5, 2009 it was announced that Scott, along with Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips, would take over hosting duties on At the Movies from Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz who would no longer be involved in the show. Scott and Phillips began their duties when the show started its new season on September 5, 2009, but ratings were low and the show aired for only one season.[7]

Top ten lists

Below are Scott's top ten lists as published in The New York Times (more than one entry with the same ranking indicates a tie). In addition, there is his "Best of the Decade" list from At the Movies. In 2011, along with Manohla Dargis, he published a list with 20 movies and in alphabetical order.[8]

2006[9]2007[10]2008[11] 2009[12]2000s2010[13]2012[14]2013[15]2014[16]2015[17]
1Letters from Iwo Jima4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysWall-EWhere the Wild Things AreWall-EInside JobAmourInside Llewyn DavisBoyhoodTimbuktu
2Pan's LabyrinthRatatouilleSilent LightThe Hurt Locker, In the LoopA.I.: Artificial IntelligenceToy Story 3Lincoln12 Years a SlaveIdaInside Out
3L'EnfantSweeney Todd, There Will Be BloodThe Secret of the GrainSummer Hours, Of Time and the CityBrokeback MountainCarlosBeasts of the Southern WildBlue Is the Warmest ColourCitizenfourSpotlight, The Big Short
4Days of GloryI'm Not ThereMan on WireUp in the Air, Funny PeopleThe PianistSomewhereFootnoteEnough SaidLeviathanHeart of a Dog
5Little Miss SunshineNo End in Sight, Terror's AdvocateThe Edge of HeavenBright Star, Medicine for MelancholyWhere the Wild Things AreThe Kids Are All RightThe MasterA Touch of SinSelmaCarol, Anomalisa
6Three Times12:08 East of Bucharest, Live-In MaidHappy-Go-LuckyPrecious, CoralineThe Best of YouthGreenbergZero Dark ThirtyAll Is LostLove Is StrangeTaxi
751 Birch StreetInto the Wild, The Diving Bell and the ButterflyWendy and LucyAvatar, District 94 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days127 HoursDjango UnchainedFrances HaWe Are the Best!Out 1
8VolverThe Lives of Others, Michael ClaytonMilkA Serious Man, Anvil! The Story of AnvilEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindLast Train HomeGoodbye First LoveHannah ArendtMr. TurnerMad Max: Fury Road
9Little ChildrenThe Savages, Away from HerRachel Getting MarriedGoodbye Solo, Sugar25th HourSecret SunshineNeighbouring SoundsLee Daniels' The ButlerDear White PeopleCreed
10A Prairie Home CompanionKnocked Up, Juno, SuperbadCadillac RecordsGomorrah, The Baader Meinhof ComplexMillion Dollar BabyExit Through the Gift ShopThe GreyThe Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Bling Ring, Spring Breakers, Pain and Gain, American HustleThe BabadookResults, Welcome to Me


  1. "A. O. Scott". The New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
  2. The School of Social Science Archived December 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. Emmis Communications (March 2000). The Alcalde. Emmis Communications. pp. 28–. ISSN 1535-993X. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
  4. The New York Times
  5. "The Amazing Human Launching Pads". "Who Runs New York", New York magazine, September 26, 2010
  6. Best Movie Reviews – Critics' Picks
  7. Phil Rosenthal (August 5, 2009). "Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips, N.Y. Times' A. O. Scott take over 'At the Movies'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  8. The New York Times
  9. A. O. Scott (December 24, 2006). "Here's to the Ambitious and the Altmans". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  10. A. O. Scott (December 23, 2007). "Stopping at 10 Just Seems Wrong". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  11. A. O. Scott (December 18, 2008). "In the Face of Loss, Celebrating Ties That Bind". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  12. A. O. Scott (December 20, 2009). "Homes Are Where You Find Them". The New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2010.
  13. A. O. Scott (December 16, 2010). "The Cinematic State of Things". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved January 27, 2011.
  14. A. O. Scott (December 14, 2012). "25 Favorites From a Year When 10 Aren't Enough". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  15. A. O. Scott (December 11, 2013). "Feasts for the Eyes, 1,001 Nights' Worth". The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  16. "A. O. Scott's Top 10 Movies 2014: 'Boyhood' and More". The New York Times. December 11, 2014. Retrieved December 12, 2014.
  17. "The Best Movies of 2015". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2015.

External links

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