Anthony Oliver "A. O." 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.
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. 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). Scott is Jewish through his mother's side. 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.
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. In 1993, he was a Television reviewer for Daily Variety, using the name Tony Scott.
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. He is also Distinguished Professor of Film Criticism at Wesleyan University.
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.
He has a son named Ezra and a daughter named Carmen.
He has stated that "Maybe not everyone who is white is a racist, but racism is what makes us white.