HOLLYWOOD – Spotlight, a searing portrait of The Boston Globe’s investigation into child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, won a surprise Oscar for best picture on Sunday at the 88th Academy Awards.
The movie, which has picked up a string of honors on its way to Oscars glory, beat rivals “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Room,” and “The Revenant.”
The Big Short to take home the big prize. After premiering at last year’s Venice film festival, the fact-based tale has won a number of other major awards, including the outstanding cast award from the Screen Actors Guild.
It was the second Oscar of the night for Spotlight after it also win the award for best original screenplay. Accepting the award, producer Michael Sugar said he hoped the film’s message – that institutional silence over child abuse was not to be tolerated – would “resonate all the way to the Vatican”.
He continued with a direct call to the pontiff. “Pope Francis: it’s time to protect the children and restore the faith.” It tells the story of the Boston Globe journalists who uncovered a Catholic church conspiracy that allowed paedophile priests to get away with abuse. Two of the film’s stars, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, were also nominated for Oscars.
Director Tom McCarthy was also nominated but lost out to The Revenant’s Alejandro González Iñárritu. McCarthy had previously directed the Adam Sandler fantasy The Cobbler and comedy-drama The Station Agent.