There is a righteous man perishing in righteousness, and there is a wicked man living long in his evil-doing.

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A. O. Scott - Biography

Anthony Oliver Scott, known as A. O. Scott (born July 10, 1966), is an American journalist and critic. He is a chief film critic for The New York Times, along with Manohla Dargis.


Background and education

Scott was born to two historians. 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. His father, Donald Scott, is a professor of American history at CUNY. He is also a great nephew of the actor Eli Wallach.

Scott attended public schools in Providence, Rhode Island—including Classical High School—before graduating 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. 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 a chief critic, following Elvis Mitchell's departure from the Times. He also, along with other movie critics of the Times, hosts a video podcast on the subject of film, called Critics' Picks.

Scott is currently working on a book of literary criticism about the 20th century American novel. He 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.

Top ten lists

Below are A. O. 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.

200620072008 20092000s2010
1Letters from Iwo Jima4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 DaysWall-EWhere the Wild Things AreWall-EInside Job
2Pan's LabyrinthRatatouilleSilent LightThe Hurt LockerA.I.: Artificial IntelligenceToy Story 3
3L'EnfantSweeney Todd, There Will Be BloodThe Secret of the GrainSummer HoursBrokeback MountainCarlos
4Days of GloryI'm Not ThereMan on WireUp in the AirThe PianistSomewhere
5Little Miss SunshineNo End in SightThe Edge of HeavenBright StarWhere the Wild Things AreThe Kids Are All Right
6Three Times', Live-In MaidHappy-Go-LuckyGomorrahThe Best of YouthGreenberg
751 Birch StreetInto the Wild, The Diving Bell and the ButterflyWendy and LucyPrecious4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days127 Hours
8VolverThe Lives of Others, Michael ClaytonMilkFunny PeopleEternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindLast Train Home
9Little ChildrenThe Savages, Away from HerRachel Getting MarriedAvatar25th HourSecret Sunshine
10A Prairie Home CompanionKnocked Up, Juno, SuperbadCadillac RecordsGoodbye SoloMillion Dollar BabyExit Through the Gift Shop

External links

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