Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Spotlight - 5 nominations

Best Picture - Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust
Actor in a Supporting Role, Mark Ruffalo
Actress in a Supporting Role, Rachel McAdams
Directing, Tom McCarthyFilm Editing, Tom McArdle
Writing - Original Screenplay, Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

"It takes a village to raise a child.  It takes a village to abuse one."

The are the powerful opening words to the film, Spotlight, arguably the most important and most powerful film of the year.  Spotlight is a modern day "All the Presidents Men" in which an investigative team from The Boston Globe unravels the decades-long systematic cover up of Priests' sexual molestation of children by the Catholic Church.  Particularly disturbing is the way in which the powers in the Boston community help to negotiate vulnerable families of the survivors away from prosecuting the offending clergy.  This is a rare Goliath versus Goliath story and one must come to terms with the heartbreaking truth that sometimes people love and protect their guilty institutions above protecting the vulnerable innocent.

The movie is outstanding by all measures.  Every performance was strong, and I think Michael Keaton was likely in the #6 or #7 spot when the final Best Actor votes were tallied.  Frankly, I was surprised by Rachel McAdams' nomination - she gave a strong but measured performance and I'm not sure that it stand out particularly among all supporting actress roles, but her work is not to be missed in this film.  On the other hand, Mark Ruffalo's performance blew me away - the thing about him is that he is different in every film.  Put this character side by side with his character in Foxcatcher, and you'd have trouble convincing me that this is the same person.  He has become particularly adept in crafting different speaking styles, different shapes for his face and his body, and becomes a totally different person in each role.

Of all the elements of this film, for me it all comes down to the utter brilliance of the screenplay. Every moment is well crafted, every line is well spoken, every scene is important.  In case you can't tell, I'm rooting for Spotlight to win this category and also Best Picture.  I have to think about the other categories more, but these seem clear to me.  

Were you especially intrigued by Spotlight?  I also recommend Oscar-nominated documentary "Deliver Us From Evil" that has particular strength for following the re-assignments of Priests from parish to parish; and "Maxima Mea Culpa: Silence in the House of God"that follows the stories of deaf children who were abused by a Priest who was faculty at a school for deaf children.

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