Ann Hornaday

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Ann Hornaday
ResidenceBaltimore, Maryland
Alma materSmith College
OccupationFilm journalist, critic
EmployerThe Washington Post
Home townDes Moines, Iowa
TitleChief film critic
AwardsFinalist, Pulitzer Prize for Criticism

Ann Hornaday is an American film critic. She has been film critic at The Washington Post since 2002 and is the author of Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies (2017). In 2008, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

Early life[edit]

Hornaday grew up in Des Moines, Iowa.[1] She attended Smith College, majoring in government;[1] she graduated in 1982.[2]


After graduating from college, Hornaday moved to New York to become a freelance writer, contributing to Premiere, Us and Ms. magazines;[1] at the latter, she also worked as a researcher and assistant to Gloria Steinem,[3] a role she held from 1983 to 1985.[4] Hornaday began contributing to the "Arts & Leisure" section of The New York Times, eventually going on to become film critic at the Austin American-Statesman. In 1997 she moved to The Baltimore Sun, then to The Washington Post in 2002, following the retirement of the Post's previous critic Rita Kempley.[1]

In 2008, Hornaday was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism,[5] with the prize committee citing "her perceptive movie reviews and essays, reflecting solid research and an easy, engaging style."[6]

In 2017, Hornaday published Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies.[7][8][9][10] The book, a 304-page text published with Basic Books,[11] draws on a series Hornaday began writing in 2009 for the Post, aimed at explaining the various specialized crafts in filmmaking – like sound, editing, cinematography – to a general audience.[3] Hornaday approached it as a journalistic project, interviewing people working in a variety of roles in film to ask them to describe what they do as well as "what they wished audiences appreciated more about their work".[3] In a review for The New York Times, Lisa Schwarzbaum described the book as "a pleasantly calm, eminently sensible, down-the-middle primer for the movie lover — amateur, professional or Twitter-centric orator — who would like to acquire and sharpen basic viewing skills."[5]

Personal life[edit]

Hornaday lives in Baltimore.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d Fraley, Jason (August 22, 2017). "How to watch movies like a world-class critic". WTOP. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  2. ^ "WordSmith". Smith College Office of Alumnae Relations. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Vancheri, Barbara (September 3, 2017). "A leading critic teaches us how to watch the movies". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  4. ^ Heilbrun, Carolyn G. (July 20, 2011). Education of a Woman: The Life of Gloria Steinem. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 9780307802132.
  5. ^ a b Schwarzbaum, Lisa (June 2, 2017). "Getting Beyond 'I Love It': How to Understand Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  6. ^ "Finalist: Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post". Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  7. ^ "TALKING PICTURES by Ann Hornaday". Kirkus Reviews. April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Minow, Nell (March 27, 2017). "Illuminating Insight: Ann Hornaday on". Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  9. ^ Barsanti, Chris (June 23, 2017). "Movies Matter in 'Talking Pictures'". PopMatters. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  10. ^ "Movies are more than screen deep. Here's how to watch like a critic". PBS NewsHour. August 18, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  11. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies by Ann Hornaday. Basic, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-465-09423-3". Publishers Weekly. April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Hughes, Bill (July 23, 2017). "Author Ann Hornaday 'Talking Pictures' at the Ivy Bookshop". Baltimore Post-Examiner. Retrieved April 8, 2018.

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