The 2016 Academy Awards have officially come and gone, with a lot of upsets and surprises all around. Mad Max: Fury Road had a very strong showing, taking home 6 statues out of the 10 it was nominated for. On top of that, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) took home the trophy for Best Supporting Actor, despite many expecting it to go to Sylvester Stallone (Creed). And of course, Leonardo DiCaprio finally getting his Oscar for his performance in The Revenant.
However, the most surprising moment of the night was Spotlight taking home Best Picture. The film would also win Best Original Screenplay. Many were expecting the Best Picture to go to The Revenant and many were hopeful for Mad Max: Fury Road. Spotlight was very much the underdog in the Best Picture race, and while many of you may of skipped it, Spotlight was very easily one of the best films of the year.
Spotlight was one of the few films in the Best Picture categories about a true story (The Big Short and Bridge of Spies would be the other two, where as The Revenant was simply inspired by true events). One of the most important things in crafting a film that is about true events is the accuracy of it, something Spotlight was very careful with.
The crew on Spotlight did their research on the subject matter, even talking with members of the real life Spotlight team that actually reported on the scandal. They stayed in close contact with them, to ensure that the film was perfect, and would even be praised by those who took in place in the actual events.
On top of that, it’s very clear the actors were all dedicated to telling this story right. They would meet with their real-life counter parts in order to get their personalities and mannerisms right. It’s wonderful acted, and you can tell that they were extremely passionate in telling the story to an audience that may not of heard about it.
The film’s subject matter is still an issue today, and we can all hope that bringing it back up we can truly fix the Catholic’s way of dealing with this scandals. Rather than try to hide it from the public punish those who are committing these terrible acts. The attention that Spotlight’s gotten is a very good step into demanding change in the Church.
At the end of the day, filmmakers make movies to tell a story. Perhaps it’s to entertain, and others to inform (Spotlight being in the latter). And Spotlight is everything that a film should be. Everyone who worked on the project was passionate about it, and wanted to ensure they told the story in the best possible way. This is important because if it wasn’t, then it becomes a joke.
With Spotlight, it shows us all what making movies should be about. This only rings more true for features based on a true story. While definitely a shock, Spotlight was the one film on that list that truly deserved to win.