New Times film critic Peter Rainer was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism, the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York announced last week. New Times Inc. is owner of the Dallas Observer and seven other weekly newspapers nationwide. Rainer's reviews appear in the Observer.
He was the only film critic among hundreds of book, theater, television, dance, architecture, and movie critics nominated to be so honored for work published in 1997. His submission of 10 pieces included reviews of such films as Titanic, L.A. Confidential, Good Will Hunting, and Hamsun.
A longtime L.A. film writer who is also the National Society of Film Critics chairman, Rainer was one of three journalists to reach the Pulitzer Committee's first circle in the prestigious criticism category.
The winner of the $5,000 award was Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times for book reviewing. Besides Rainer, the other finalist was Dorothy Rabinowitz of The Wall Street Journal for TV commentary.
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The Pulitzer Committee said it was honoring Rainer for "his versatile and perceptive writing about film." He is the first movie critic recognized as a finalist from the West Coast, and one of six finalists for film criticism in the history of the Pulitzers.