Monday, January 25, 2016

Oscar Project 2016: Spotlight

Movie: Spotlight

Spotlight, about the Boston Globe investigation into sexual abuse by priests, is absolutely my favorite nominated movie I've seen so far; I want it to win all the categories in which it was nominated and some of those in which it wasn't. During the movie, I remember thinking "I want to be watching this movie forever," which is a feeling I do not have often. I loved the writing, the acting, the realistic Boston setting, the way the main characters were none of them perfect but were all working together to accomplish something important. I can't wait to see it again.

Availability: In a few theaters. Go find it!

Nominated in:

Best Picture: Yes yes yes. It's a wonderfully made movie with great writing and a great cast, telling a very important story.

Actor in a Supporting Role: Mark Ruffalo was great, but I honestly could have filled this entire category with nominees just from this movie. But yes. Ruffalo's portrayal of Mike Rezendes was just controlled enough, just this side of over-the-top, so that the audience felt how much he cared about the story without ever making it about the reporter rather than the subject.

Actress in a Supporting Role: Sure. Rachel McAdams had a pretty quiet role, but she did very well with it, and I kept forgetting it was her, which in this context I mean as a compliment.

Directing: Yes. This was a movie that could have easily lost a lot of its power by being too much or too obvious in any of a variety of directions, and Tom McCarthy resisted that and kept things admirably controlled, which made the movie stronger.

Film Editing: Sure. I think the editing played a large role in creating the tone of quiet urgency that made the movie so successful.

Writing (Original Screenplay): Yep. The writing was complex and compelling and just generally great. One challenge of movies based on the recent past is that the audience knows what's going to happen; I was living in the Boston area at the time of these events and followed the story and even that knowledge didn't decrease the tension of the movie, which is, among other things, a mark of good writing.

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