Some people have asked if I am surprised that “Spotlight” was snubbed at the Golden Globes, and my answer is a resounding NO. The Golden Globes is hardly a panel of serious journalists that are attempting diligently to define excellence in film. And as “foreigners”, they tend to better comprehend films with global themes. “The Revenant’s” story of human survival is a universal one and directed by a European director (Alejandro González Iñárritu). Both “The Big Short” and “Spotlight” focus on more specifically American stories. And my hunch is that most of the Globes critics are European Catholics who might have felt a little squeamish about honoring “Spotlight”.
Therefore, I boldly stand behind what I said in the article below back in December. A good film has an impact. It helps spread awareness of very real issues and tells untold stories to mass audiences around the globe. A truly GREAT film has the power to expose these untold stories and to inspire change. While “The Revenant” was entertaining, it’s not Best Picture material by the Academy’s standards. Leo may very well take home the Oscar for Best Actor, but let’s be serious, if he didn’t get an Oscar for his role in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” he probably never will.
Click here to read why I (still) think “Spotlight” should take home Best Picture: http://screenpicks.com/2015/12/3-reasons-spotlight-should-be-oscars-best-picture-frontrunner/
Dec. 31, 2015:
Sensational, epic, mind-blowing – these all could be used to describe Spotlight, the stellar film from writer/director Tom McCarthy. This gripping newspaper drama focuses on a small team of long-lead investigative journalists who work for a sub-sect division of the Boston Globe called Spotlight. In 2000, they began to investigate a few Catholic priests being sued for sexual misconduct towards children and ended up discovering a massive and far-reaching cycle of systematic sexual abuse that the Church routinely covered up.
Here are three reasons why Spotlight should be the frontrunner in the race for Oscar’s Best Picture:
1. It’s about good old-fashioned newspaper reporting. Director and co-writer Tom McCarthy uses his keen vision in telling an extremely important story. He justly captures the Boston environs, while highlighting just how close-knit and religious a community it really is. As the horror unravels, you’re left shaking your head in disbelief. Most importantly, however, the film expertly shows investigative journalism at its very best. Spotlight is on par with All the President’s Men in how it peels back the truth. The Academy eats that stuff up.
2. The facts will haunt you. This true story exposes that in Boston alone there were 89 active priests that were known by the Catholic Church officials and certain authority members to be molesting children. When Spotlight first published the story in 2002, it resulted in over 200 priests receiving over 1,000 public allegations of sexual abuse in the city of Boston alone. Academy voters should be appalled by the major theme running through the film: The absolute abuse of power.
3. The performances are all spot-on. While not one actor clearly stands out, besides maybe Michael Keaton as the Spotlight editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, the entire ensemble does an excellent job conveying the ways in which good newspaper journalists uncover an important story. Mark Ruffalo has the biggest voice as reporter Mike Rezendes, while Rachel McAdams and Brian d’Arcy James portray the rest of the Spotlight team with aplomb. Liev Schreiber also does a fine job as the Globe’s new editor-in-chief, who spots the story right away and puts his trust in the team to report it the right way. In supporting roles, Stanely Tucci is excellent as beleaguered lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who represents a growing number of victims abused by the priests. His best line? “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.” As a whole, Spotlight‘s cast shines.
To sum it all up, McCarthy, co-writer Josh Singer and the cast deserve the utmost praise for creating this astonishing feature that shines a light on a very dark part of the Catholic Church, making it a clear frontrunner to win Best Picture.