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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Underrated Spotlight? How 2015's Best Film Feels Like Its Fading Fast

Prior to The Golden Globes, Spotlight was the front-runner to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It is this fuel that caused 19 out of the 21 "experts" at to predict Spotlight to win the Golden Globe for Best Film (Drama). The other two "experts" predicted Mad Max: Fury Road. Throughout the entire awards season, Spotlight had already been anointed the winner. Sometimes being the Top Dog early works out well as shown by 2011's  The Artist. Sometimes it's better not to pique early as we saw with Boyhood last year. Unfortunately, Spotlight is starting to feel more than Boyhood than The Artist. As Spotlight came out with exactly zero wins at The Golden Globes and as The Revenant and even Mad Max: Fury Road feels like it's gaining steam, I fear that Spotlight is going to be one of those great movies that history ends up leaving behind thanks to getting shut out come award season. Sure Spotlight did earn plenty of top tier Oscar nominations such as Best Director, Best Editing, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Screenplay, and of course Best Picture, but it still feels like it is being left out of the conversation. (And for the record, Boyhood also earned all of those nominations last year and its only winner was for Award Season favorite Patricia Arquette for Best Supporting Actress.)

As someone who loves to write about this stuff, I also consume it in every way I can. I follow entertaining and knowledgeable people on Twitter, I listen to a handful of podcasts, and I read articles like crazy. And I feel like nobody is talking about Spotlight which saddens me because I absolutely love this film.

Spotlight follows reporters from the Boston Globe as they investigate rampant corruption within the Catholic Church regarding the sex abuse scandals. It mainly stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachael McAdams, and Brian d'Arcy James as Boston Globe investigative reporters of the Globe's Spotlight section who helped uncover the darkest secrets of the Church in the early 2000's. Part of the genius of Spotlight is that it's able to take this seemingly mundane topic of reporters doing their job and turned it into an incredibly engaging and riveting story. It's a story that steps on the gas and never lets up.

As of the writing of this post, Spotlight is my favorite film of 2015 and it's easy to see why it was the early Oscar front runner. It's that good and it has no business being this good. Director Tom McCarthy was able to take a story about people just doing their jobs and turned it into a great film. Not since All The President's Men has a film about news journalism been so damn good and entertaining. The combination between the high degree of difficulty of making a story like this enjoyable to watch plus the quality of the product on the screen made everyone (including myself) fall in love with Spotlight. Then, they didn't.

I don't know if people just really love The Revenant or if it premiered too early or if it's so good that there's really nothing else to say about it besides "it's really good you guys", but Spotlight doesn't feel like the Oscar favorite that it was a couple of months ago. And that's a shame to me, because I really want it to win all of the awards.



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