Two fine workplace dramas are up for Best Picture in the Academy Awards. I’m rooting for Spotlight, since investigative journalism is a far more endangered profession than financial manipulation (The Big Short). Spotlight feels so authentic because the actors (most with a theater background) and director Tom McCarthy prepped with the real reporters they would portray. McCarthy recalled that their first meeting “… felt like an inquisition. “They came right at me!” says McCarthy. “‘Why are you telling this story?’”
In his Boston Globe review, Globe writer Ty Burre vouches for the authenticity: “Tom McCarthy’s movie doesn’t turn its journalists into heroes. It just lets them do their jobs, as tedious and critical as those are, with a realism that grips an audience almost in spite of itself. … The office furniture seems unchanged since the 1970s, for one thing, and, trust me, that is realism.” For me, one of the most searing Spotlight moments is the sight of hundreds of thousands of newspapers containing the exposé as they pour off the presses — which doesn’t and will never happen in that quantity anymore — juxtaposed with the billboard for AOL outside the Globe’s printing plant.