A lot of people won Pulitzer Prizes yesterday, but most relevant for our purposes is Joe Morgenstern, film critic for the Wall Street Journal. Morgenstern was handed the $10,000 Criticism prize for writing "reviews that elucidated the strengths and weaknesses of film with rare insight, authority and wit." This is a big deal to those of us who follow criticism and theory - or for that matter, Pulitzer Prizes. As far as I know, Stephen Hunter and Roger Ebert are the only film critics who have previously won Pulitzers specifically for their film reviews. Ebert won the first ever Criticism prize in the 70s; he was the only film critic with one on the mantle until Hunter's controversail win in 2003. This year, Morgenstern was up against the formidable competition of Carlin Romano (Chronicle of Higher Education) and Frank Rich (New York Times).

So, does he deserve it? Hell yes. For proof, listen to his back-to-back reviews of Melinda and Melinda and The Ring Two, podcasted at KCRW.com. My favorite joke? It's a toss up between, "Svelte and Svelte", and "cold for his body." Morgenstern does exactly what a critic should do, although nowadays most don't: he gets the reader to laugh out loud whilst making thoughtful, intelligent statements about much more than what is going on on-screen - and, at the same time, he's not too much of a snob to clearly state whether or not he thinks each film is good or bad.  And so, Pulitzer Prize Winner Joe Morgenstern - Cinematical salutes you.

categories Awards, Cinematical