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Every year Hollywood’s awards season starts in November and doesn’t end until late February. The Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Academy Awards are some of the most well-known (probably because their red carpets get full E! coverage). And if you’re anything like us, you make time to watch all the fashion, speeches, glitz, and glamour of self-congratulatory Hollywood. But there’s one pattern we’ve noticed over the years, and that’s the number of nominated films that are based on books.
In fact, of the 87 films awarded the Academy Award for best picture since its inception in 1928, 62 have been based on books. This year alone, seven of the eight films nominated for best picture are based on books: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Martian, Room, The Revenant, and Spotlight. So, as you may already know, March is our Screenplay month when we read a book that’s been made into a movie and ask ourselves the question; is the book really better than the movie?
Which brings us to our book choice this month (drum roll please!)… Betrayal: The Crisis in the Catholic Church (the findings of the investigation that inspired the major motion picture Spotlight). In 2001 a group of reporters for The Boston Globe started a series of reports on the Catholic Church’s management of the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in Boston. Named the “Spotlight” team, this group of journalists (reporters Matt Carroll, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Michael Rezendes; and editor Walter V. Robinson) methodically and publicly uncovered the Catholic church’s decades-long neglect, denial and deliberate coverup of sexual abuse committed by numerous Boston area priests.
Eventually winning a Pulitzer Prize for their work, these reporters and their conviction to bring these criminals and their accomplices to justice caught the eye of film producers and writer/director Tom McCarthy. He sought to tell the story of these journalists and their journey to tell the truth, at all costs, behind a damaging conspiracy. And it would seem McCarthy’s storytelling has been a success considering his film Spotlight is now nominated for 6 Academy Awards including directing and best picture. We expect that learning more about this conspiracy and its unveiling will prove a difficult, but necessary, exercise in understanding what institutions of power are capable of and how to prevent such devastation in the future.
Learn more about this story:
- NPR Film Shines a ‘Spotlight’ on Boston Clergy’s Sex Abuse Scandal
- The first story in the original Boston Globe series: Church Allowed Abuse by Priests for Years
- The real people behind the Spotlight characters
- Behind the scenes of Spotlight
We hope you’ll read with us! Share your progress/thoughts with us on Instagram or Twitter using #BooklyMark.