Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
We went into the awards season 99.9% certain that Leonardo DiCaprio would win Best Actor for The Revenant, and he took home many statues, including Oscar Gold. It also seemed certain that director Alejandro G. Iñárritu would win. He did--second year in a row. Best picture? Pretty sure it would be Revenant.
But as my son and I settled in to watch the Academy Awards on Sunday night, I said, Ya know, if the director of The Revenant wins, I think Spotlight will win Best Picture, or the other way around.
Call it a hunch, a guess, call me the Cumaean Sybil. Don't breathe too hard around me. You might blow away my nose.
Spotlight won Best Picture (2015, Rated R, Available for Purchase on DVD and is on some streaming services; available on DVD from Netflix on March 22; DirecTV Cinema gave us a free movie, so that's how we watched it).
My son and I felt captivated by the film immediately. It's brilliant! we cried, in unison. We also cried in unison when he was born.
Spotlight is based on the true story of a team of reporters who undertake in-depth journalism projects for The Boston Globe. In the movie, the three major reporters--played by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel McAdams--spend months during 2001 uncovering the Catholic church's complicity in hiding the identities of priests who molest children, and the shocking numbers of the abused and abusers.
The three reporters are backed by journalists who specialize in areas such as data analysis and a new managing editor, played by the always excellent Liev Schrieber. The director and crew seem to have done everything they could to make us feel we are there. This dialog-driven movie emphasizes the thrill of the hunt. (Note: As a reporter, I was never happy when something bad happened so I could report on it, but when I needed to investigate, I found it exciting.)
Spotlight also won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Josh Singer and director Tom McCarthy.
Ruffalo and McAdams earned, what seemed to us, undeserved nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress. I must say, though, that Ruffalo is one of my favorite actors. So is Benicio del Toro, who might have been nominated for the riveting but very violent Sicario. I'm not sure who I would have put in McAdams' place.
Good journalism is spellbinding for the reporters and editors who do the work, and informative for its readers. I despair as I see print journalism disappear, only to be replaced by bad television reporting, The Huffington Post and its many grammatical errors and stories lifted from other sources, and "news" Web sites and bloggers who report the latest rumor.
I worked at the newspaper that broke Three Mile Island. I didn't work there at the time, but it thrills me to know that our small-town paper informed the Associated Press about the imminent danger in Pennsylvania. One of my most exciting moments came when the AP picked up one of my articles.
Thus and so, Spotlight earns The Janie Junebug and Son of Junebug Seal of Highest Approval. We also thought the awards show was great. Chris Rock couldn't have been much better. It was hilarious when he asked "typical" movie-goers if they'd heard of the nominated movies. Nah. What's Spotlight?
Now you have no excuse to say you don't know what Spotlight is. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to do so. It's not a movie for children. If you can get teens of about fifteen and older excited by the journalistic process, please watch the movie with them and explain what's going on. If you don't know what's going on, Google it, or ask me.
Infinities of love,