MetaCritic typically collects reviews from around 40 critics and Rotten Tomatoes names roughly the same number among its ‘Top Critics.’ The individual lists of critics change from film to film, with a core group of 25 who never seem to miss a movie. 20 other critics slide on and off the edges of the guest list.
Among these 4 dozen film critics there might be 10 writers so esteemed that they can help make or break a movie with their review. A few of those critics we’ll all agree about. A few more will receive less “universal acclaim.” There are only 20 critics I really give a damn about, and maybe 5 who’ve made a weekly impression on my ongoing film education over the years. We’ll all have our favorite writers; but this poll I want to assemble is not about prose skills. I’m more curious to find out who we think has clout and real industry influence.
Not particularly interested in ranking the 40 most familiar critics from best respected to least — though that ranking will soon shake out. I’d like to find out who’s at the very top. The premiere film authorities. The writers we think are the 10 or 15 most important critics in the business.
I’ve thrown together a preliminary list. We’ll take suggests and hear arguments for the next few hours. Sometime tomorrow after all the suggestions are made and gaps filled in, we’ll put the top 35-40 names in poll and open it to voting this weekend.
Find my very rough list of candidates after the cut, and let me know who I forgot to include.
* David Ansen, Newsweek
* James Berardinelli
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian UK
* Ty Burr, Boston Globe
Justin Chang, Variety
Richard Corliss, TIME
Manohla Dargis, New York Times
David Denby, New Yorker
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
David Edelstein, New York Magazine
* Philip French, Observer
* David Germain, Associated Press
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
* Ed Gonzales, Slant
Pete Hammond, Boxoffice Magazine
Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Kirk Honeycutt, Hollywood Reporter
Peter Howell, Toronto Star
* Mark Kermode, BBC & The Guardian
* Peter Knegt, IndieWire
* Anthony Lane, New Yorker
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Christy Lemire, Associated Press
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
Todd McCarthy, IndieWire
Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
Andrew O’Hehir, Salon
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
Claudia Puig, USA Today
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Rex Reed, New York Observer
Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
* Nick Schager, Slant
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly
A.O. Scott, New York Times
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
Dana Stevens, Slate
* David Thomson
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Stephanie Zacharek, Movieline
I’m short on UK critics and that gap needs to be adjusted a bit. I’m short on critics who write for publications between the coasts too — but that’s less important to our project. If a critic lives in a flyover state and his name’s not Ebert or Roeper, then he won’t have much influence in Hollywood. Polished prose, exquisite taste — those are great qualities, congratulations. But it’s not what we’re measuring, ok? Give me names that carry weight in the industry, and they’ll get a slot on the poll. Your other personal favorites will make fine topics for discussion in the comments, but I’ll need a good reason to put their names in this game.