Spotlight which took home the Best Picture award this year has to be the most significant movie on investigative journalism to hit the screens since All The President’s Men.The two movies, released 40 years apart were also nominated in almost the same categories but ended up winning differently at the Academy Awards. The Oscars and Hollywood in general, with all their misgivings and discriminations ,do prove from time to time that they do have a soul and that they haven’t forgotten the basic ethos of the mediums they largely represent.The fact that Spotlight is all about how The Fourth Estate took on the First , the mother of all “systems” ,taking the side of justice for the oppressed and the silenced when the law itself had failed or was manipulated , accentuates the significance of the win.
The movie tracks the activities of the oldest investigative journalistic unit in the US, the Spotlight team of The Boston Globe in their efforts to expose the cover up of decades long sexual abuse and child molestation by Catholic priests of the Boston Archdiocese.The efforts won The Boston Globe the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. The horrific crimes that went on since the 70s and the even more horrific act on the part of the authorities in the Church and in the public domain who tried to hush up the scandal holds a marker to the depth of the rot in the systems that we literally lay our faith in. Facts are indeed stranger than fiction.
The media is essentially a reflection of what we as a society are and all they do actually is hold a mirror to our opinions ,fears, aspirations and agendas. At a time when we have media houses thronging our timelines and TV screens screaming for attention and pushing agendas down our throats, true instances of committed journalism like the one pursued by Spotlight are rare gems. To the powerless common man who is at the receiving end almost all the time, it’s efforts like these that make a world of difference, like it did for the survivors and their families in this case.