James Lewis Hoberman (born March 14, 1948), also known as J. Hoberman, is an American film critic. He began at The Village Voice during the 1970s, became a full-time staff writer in 1983, and was the senior film critic from 1988 to 2012. He is also the author of several books.
After completing his MFA Hoberman worked for The Village Voice as third-stringer under Andrew Sarris. There, he specialized in examining experimental film. Indeed, his first published film review appeared in 1977 for David Lynch's seminal debut film Eraserhead. From 2009 until January 4, 2012, Hoberman was the senior film editor at the Village Voice. He contributes regularly to Film Comment, The New York Times, and The Virginia Quarterly Review.
Hoberman appears in the 2009 documentary film For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism, recalling his first movie memory, going with his mother to see Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show On Earth (1952), and how he was mesmerized by a scene in that film depicting a train crash.
In addition to his academic and professional career, Hoberman is the author of several important books on cinema, including a collaboration with fellow film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, entitled Midnight Movies, published in 1983.
In the 2002 Sight & Sound film poll, Hoberman indicated that Flaming Creatures is his choice for best film ever made. Other films included in his top five, listed by ranking, are The Girl from Chicago, Man with a Movie Camera, Pather Panchali, and La Règle du jeu.
In 2008, at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Hoberman was honored with the prestigious Mel Novikoff Award: an annual award "bestowed on an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema."
Since 1990, Hoberman has taught cinema history at Cooper Union. Additionally, he has lectured on film at Harvard University and continues to lecture at New York University. He was also an active leader at The Village Voice staff union.
In January 2012, the Village Voice fired Hoberman as part of their cost-cutting measures. Hoberman responded: "I have no regrets and whatever sadness I feel is outweighed by a sense of gratitude. Thirty-three years is a long time to be able to do something that you love to do, to champion things you want to champion, and to even get paid for it."