Karen M. Peterson

Film Critic, Podcaster, Freelance Entertainment Journalist

United States

With ten years of experience in entertainment journalism and film criticism, Karen is a Los Angeles-based film critic, podcaster, and writer. She worked as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the entertainment site AwardsCircuit.com until it closed in 2020. She then spent two years as the Awards Editor at We Live Entertainment. She currently freelances with bylines at Variety and Awards Daily, in addition to her work with Citizen Dame, the podcast and website she co-owns and edits. Additionally, she co-hosts the Watch and Talk film and TV podcast.

Karen is particularly interested in the craft of filmmaking, celebrating marginalized filmmakers, and analyzing entertainment awards races. Her work has taken her to film festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Hamptons International Film Festival, AFI, and Animation Is Film, as well as red carpet events and press rooms for the Independent Spirit Awards, the Critics Choice Awards, ACE Eddies, and the Oscars.


Interviews and Features

Inside the Secrets of 'The Rings of Power' Title Sequence

Main title creators Mark Bashore and Katrina Crawford were given a unique challenge in creating the title sequence for "The Rings of Power," a series from the world of J.R.R. Tolkien that would introduce fans of "The Lord of the Rings" to the much older and less familiar Second Age.

How 'Halo's' Crew Built a Library of Sounds To Bring X-Box Game to Life

Supervising sound editor Jane Tattersall, sound designer Brennan Mercer and re-recording mixers Matthew Chan and Lou Solakofski knew the stakes were high for Paramount+ series " Halo," based on the wildly popular Xbox video game, which for years had been trying to make the leap to movie theaters.

We Live Entertainment
Interview: Gary Oldman Discusses Mankiewicz, Fincher, and 'Mank' | We Live Entertainment

Gary Oldman has become a legend in his own time, with such iconic characters as Lee Harvey Oswald, Dracula, Sirius Black, and Commissioner Gordon. Since the early days of his career, Oldman has embraced a wide range of parts, has played in every imaginable genre, and has become one of the most recognizable actors in the business, even with his chameleon-like ability to disappear into every new role.

We Live Entertainment
Nicole Beharie Discusses History, Timing, and the Importance of 'Miss Juneteenth' | We Live...

Nicole Beharie is doing as well as anyone could during a global pandemic. From taking time for herself, training, dancing, praying, and connecting with others. The star of indie hit, Miss Juneteenth, won Best Actress at this year's Gotham Awards and we were delighted to talk with her about what it was like to hear she had won the season's first major prize.

We Live Entertainment
Interview: 'LuLaRich' Producers Discuss the Impact of Their LuLaRoe MLM Docuseries | We Live...

We've all heard of the big ones: Amway, Avon, Mary Kay, Primerica. Multi-level marketing companies have been around for decades and new ones appear all the time, often fading into oblivion when they fail to catch on. In 2013, DeAnne and Mark Stidham founded LuLaRoe, a clothing company that virtually exploded overnight when it began welcoming retailers to join their vision.

We Live Entertainment
Interview: Director Phyllida Lloyd Discusses the Joy of Community at the Heart of 'Herself' | We...

Renowned theatre director Phyllida Lloyd made a big impact with her first two feature films. In 2008, she made her big screen debut by adapting her hit stage musical, Mamma Mia! starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried. Reflecting on the longevity of that delightfully quirky film today, she says, "I feel proud that it's such a guilty pleasure for lots of people."

We Live Entertainment
Interview: Production Designer Jon Hutman Talks 'Being the Ricardos' and Working With Aaron...

Jon Hutman didn't set out to become a production designer for movie sets. At Yale, he started out in the theater department, quickly learning that he enjoyed working being the scenes far more than onstage. In the summer following his junior year, his friend Jodie Foster got him a job on the set of Hotel New Hampshire, which ultimately led him in a new direction.


Citizen Dame
'Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.' Review - Citizen Dame

"This is going to chronicle the ultimate comeback," Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs promises at the start of Adamma Ebo's Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. But what follows is not so much the story of a comeback as it is one of peeling back layers of excess and pretense.

Citizen Dame
'Top Gun: Maverick' Review: Tom Cruise Soars to New Heights

Arriving two years late and right on time, proves nostalgia-fueled sequels can both live up to their predecessors and reach new cinematic heights. Returning to the role that made him one of the world's biggest movie stars, Tom Cruise continues to prove he is the best of the best when it comes to adrenaline-rush action movies.

Citizen Dame
'Moonfall' Review: Stupid Fun for Everyone - Citizen Dame

When it comes to disaster movies, it seems no one enjoys making them more than Roland Emmerich. Whether it's destructive alien invaders ( Independence Day), the breaking point for global warming ( The Day After Tomorrow), or the end of the Mayan calendar ( 2012), Emmerich is best known for making big, expensive, movies that are usually, if nothing else, very entertaining.

Citizen Dame
AFI Fest Review: 'The Power of the Dog' - Citizen Dame

It has been more than ten years since Jane Campion directed a feature film and her latest, The Power of the Dog, was worth waiting for. The meticulously crafted adaptation of Thomas Savage's novel is a searing portrait of masculinity, loneliness, and self-imposed isolation. Set in prohibition-era Montana, The Power of the Dog tells the...

Citizen Dame
'Dune' Is a Rare Cinematic Experience - Citizen Dame

Denis Villeneuve's Dune is the latest and best effort to turn the political sci fi epic into a worthy big screen experience. Frank Herbert's groundbreaking 1965 novel has proven to be a particularly challenging story to adapt, as many filmmakers - most notably Alejandro Jodorowsky and David Lynch - can attest.

Citizen Dame
'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' Review - Citizen Dame

As Marvel characters go, Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has always been a little bit more out there than the rest. Except, of course, for Thor, who is a literal god. But Strange went from brilliant neurologist to master of the mystic arts, thus setting him apart from a universe in which most of his counterparts derived their various gifts through scientific means, usually accidentally.

Citizen Dame
'All the Old Knives' Review - Citizen Dame

Stefania Rosini/Amazon Studios Danish filmmaker Janus Metz tries his hand at the spy vs. spy game with his latest film, All the Old Knives. Unlike others from the genre, this quieter, more self-reflective movie relies on conversation and a lot of wine as old wounds and lingering questions float overhead.

Citizen Dame
'Licorice Pizza': Teen Fantasies and Problematic Realities - Citizen Dame

There's a strange sort of reverence for any Paul Thomas Anderson film, but the discussion surrounding his newest, Licorice Pizza, is one of the more troubling. It has become almost disallowed to criticize or question the artistic choices of a so-called master, as if someone expressing concerns over a film's more disturbing plot elements somehow invalidates their opinion.

Citizen Dame
AFI Fest Review: 'Tick, tick...Boom!' - Citizen Dame

Is suffering required in order for art to be great? This is a question not asked explicitly but flirted with in Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut, Tick, tick...Boom! The film opened this year's AFI Fest in Hollywood to an enthusiastic crowd whose joyful cheers almost made it possible to overlook its many flaws.

We Live Entertainment
'Memoria' Review: An Enigmatic, Dreamlike Journey | We Live Entertainment

Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul redefines cinema with the enigmatic Memoria, a Columbian drama that plays more like a moving art installation than a film. It is not necessary or possible to fully describe the plot of a film like this. It isn't particularly story-driven, and it's not exactly a character study either.


We Live Entertainment
What Role Do Critics' Groups Play in Shaping Awards Season? | We Live Entertainment

Twitter was abuzz Sunday with a mix of delight, confusion, and outrage as the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) announced their Best Film of 2020 as Steve McQueen's Small Axe. A collection of five separate films, , Lovers Rock , Red, White, and Blue , Alex Wheatle , and were released on Amazon Prime as a limited series.

We Live Entertainment
Considering 'The Power of the Dog' | We Live Entertainment

Please note: This article includes spoilers for Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed with caution. In these waning days of the awards season, it's a good time to take one more look at a film that truly was one of the best of 2021: Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog.

We Live Entertainment
How 'The Crown' Became the Drama Series to Beat | We Live Entertainment

With 24 Emmy nominations this year, The Crown is an almost unstoppable force heading toward its own coronation next month. In its first three seasons, the period drama about Britain's royals garnered 39 nominations (including three Outstanding Drama Series nods) and 10 wins.

We Live Entertainment
The Best Pictures of 2021 | We Live Entertainment

The finish line is in sight, Oscar voting is now closed, and there's nothing to do but sit and wait and overthink all our predictions. As is the norm when the season stretches to the end, the race for Best Picture has boiled down to two camps.

Live Updates from the 2022 Oscars Press Room!

Hello, friends! I am so delighted to be joining you today and bringing you all the action from the Interview Room. Many thanks to Sasha, Clarence, and the entire Awards Daily team for allowing me to be here on this momentous occasion. Whatever happens tonight, it's sure to be unforgettable.