1 Levy: Bio–Short Resume

Emanuel Levy–Short resume


Dr. Emanuel Levy is a well-rounded scholar in film, culture and sociology, combining three interrelated careers, as a university professor, film critic, and author of nine film and sociology books.

Over the past three decades, Levy has taught film and sociology at the City University of New York, Columbia University, Wellesley College, Arizona State University, where he was chair of interdisciplinary studies for three years (1990-1992).  In 2004, he has relocated to Los Angeles for personal reasons.

Levy received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1978 in sociology and culture studies (focus on film and theater).  Part of his dissertation, A Comparative Study of National Theaters, was published by Columbia University as The Habima: Israel’s National Theater, 1917-1977: A Study of Cultural Nationalism, and won the 1980 National Jewish Book Award

At Columbia, he took classes and benefited from the inspirational instruction of many distinguished scholars, including Sigmund Diamond, Meter Shapiro, Danto, Robert Merton, Margaret Mead, and Andrew Sarris of the film, who became his mentor and role model.  Levy edited a tribute volume for Sarris’ 70th birthday, Citizen Sarris: American Film Critic (2000) an event celebrated at Columbia University Film School and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center with a panel and screenings of Sarris’ favorite films,

Prof. Levy belongs to a small group of film and popular culture scholars who have juggled two full-time careers: as a professor (now at UCLA’s School of Film) and as a film critic and author.


A two-time president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), Emanuel Levy was a senior film critic for Variety from 1990 to 2001, and the chief film critic for Screen International from 2001 to 2003.   In 2004, he launched his website of film reviews and commentary, EmanuelLevy.Com, which has been hailed by Patrick Goldstein in the L.A. Times as “one of the most erudite and cerebral sites” in the country.  Providing a vibrant, dynamic look at the film world, EmanuelLevy.com features reviews, news, commentary, profiles, interviews, and film festival coverage as well as the site’s widely read Oscar Alert pages.


Levy holds the distinction of being the only writer working today to be a voting member of five of the most important and influential critic and awards organizations in the country from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), best-known for its Golden Globe Awards, to the prestigious National Society of Film Critics (NSFC).  Levy’s other voting affiliations include the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFC), the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), and the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci).


A leading authority on film (both American and foreign-language), Levy and his website are continuously quoted in the national press, most recently in a USA Today article about Oliver Stone’s “World Trade Center,” and in the L.A. Times’ profile of Richard Linklater (based on reviews of two Cannes festival entries, “Fast Food Nation” and “A Scanner Darkly” featured on EmanuelLevy.com).  Levy is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, London’s Financial Times, The Jerusalem Post, and Italy’s Caik Magazine, and Mexico’s Cinemania among others. A popular film commentator, he has appeared on ABC’s Nightline (including the show on Elia Kazan), NPR, PBS, CNN, NBC, FOX TV, the Sundance Channel, and other national forums.


Rounding our his expertise and influence, Levy has served on 46 International Film Festival juries, including Cannes, Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Dallas, and Palm Springs, and Shanghai.  Most recently, he has served on the grand juries of the Montreal, Taormina, Locarno, and Venice International Film Festivals.  In 2003, he was a juror at the Sundance Film Festival, the mecca for American Indies, with Tilda Swinton, Steve Buscemi, Forest Whitaker, and David O. Russell.  In 2004, he served on the Hawaii Festival jury with the internationally renowned actors Maggie Cheung and David Wenham.  In 2008, he was invited to serve on the grand jury of the third edition of the Roma Film Fest along with four other distinguished critics from France, Italy, and Poland.


Levy is the author of nine sociology and film books, including All About Oscar: The History and Politics of the Academy Awards, first published in February 2003, and George Cukor, Master of Elegance, the definitive biography of the legendary Hollywood director.


His first book, The Habima: Israel’s National Theater, was published in 1980 by Columbia University Press and received the National Jewish Book Award.


Levy’s Cinema of Outsiders: The Rise of American Independent Film (hard cover 2000, paperback 2001), the first chronicle of the American Independent Cinema, quickly became a film studies staple in universities across the country.


Other books include Citizen Sarris, American Film Critic, a collection of essays by noted directors, scholars and critics honoring the Village Voice critic who introduced the theory of auteurism to the American scene, John Wayne: Prophet of the American Way Life, and Small-Town America in Film: The Fall and Decline of Community.


His latest (ninth) book, Hollywood’s Dark Dreamer, the first biography of the noted Broadway and Hollywood director Vincente Minnelli, has just been published by St. Martin’s Press in May 2009.


Levy is currently working on his tenth book, Stranger Than Fiction: How Michael Moore Shook the World and Made American Documentaries Sexy, which will be published by Continuum International.

Other film-related activities include commentaries on special DVD editions, such as Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, Fellini’s City of Women, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs, and Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant.

Levy has moderated over 20 panels for the European Film Commission (In Toronto Film Festival) and Sundance Film Festival, and other film forums, on such wide-ranging issues as: The New Hollywood, the American Independent Cinema Movement, Globalization Vs. National Cinemas, Hollywood and the Muslim Community, Politics and Film in the post-9/11 era (with Robert Redford, Spike Lee, Barbara Kopple, and Mira Nair).