Backstage Interview: Best Picture – Spotlight

Q. Congratulations.  First of all, well deserved.  What did you learn about journalism that you never knew before?

A. (Blye Pagon Faust)  I think we knew that journalists were important, but I don’t think we understood the depth of the importance of investigative journalism, and that’s just good boots on the ground, local reporting.  And the impact that it can have on a global scale has just become abundantly clear to us.

Q. In your speech, you talked about you had a message for the Pope.  Do you think that message is actually going to be received; that he’s going to think about that; that it’s actually going to do something?

A. (Michael Sugar)  First of all, I don’t remember anything that I said at this point.  And I don’t know if anyone watches this show, but if they do, I hope so.  I hope that you, as journalists in here and throughout the world, will help resonate our message all the way to the Vatican, and maybe we can have some real change at this point.  That’s what we hope to accomplish.  That’s what this was really about for all of us is to ‑‑ is to talk about this film and what happened and ‑‑ and ‑‑ because these ‑‑ these things are still happening, the story of SPOTLIGHT has really just begun.

Q. You have talked so much.  And it’s very important, the message, the mission of this film.  What you won for was getting that message across in the most artistic way.  What were the ‑‑ the filming, artistic, you know, challenges of making this film?  And you knew that audiences had to respond to it to make the message work.

A. (Steven Golin)  Well, I think that Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer wrote a really, really beautiful screenplay that was in conjunction with talking to ‑‑ it was kind of their own investigation into ‑‑ into what happened.  And I think that Tom did a really great job of directing the movie in a way that  was ‑‑ was very subtle and oddly entertaining.  You know, there was a thriller aspect to the way the story unfolded.  And I think that it’s a real testament to Tom’s direction and their screenplay, the way that they developed the story, because, you know, the logline of the story is not very commercial if you’re not in this room.  And I think that they did a really great job, and I think the performances of the ensemble cast were so subtle, and the actors were so generous, that it really allowed the story to come through.  In a way, that’s actually difficult.  I think ‑‑ I always like to say Tom hit a very small bulls‑eye because I think if you’re off by a little bit, you’re off by a lot.  And it was really beautifully executed from a script point of view and execution point of view, and the actors really were amazing, so.

Q. Congratulations on your win.  I just want to know a little bit about why you wanted to take this film to Open Road and how they supported you with it.

A. (Michael Sugar)  You know, Open Road and Participant Media, in particular, have been great champions of film and creating a different option for filmmakers.  I personally hadn’t worked very much with Open Road, just a little bit before, and they’re extraordinary partners.  And Steve and I have done many movies with Participant, who are also really courageous with the chances they’ll take on making films.  They make great films.  So that partnership seemed like a terrific one for us, and they were involved from ‑‑ from the jump.  So we are really excited that we brought this home for them, too.

Q. Congratulations.

A. (Michael Sugar)  Thank you.

A. (Blye Pagon Faust)  Thank you.

Q. You look very happy.

A. (Michael Sugar)  Yeah, exactly.

Q. It’s going to be good for me for a couple days.

A. (Michael Sugar)  Great.

Q. Now, I don’t want to bring you down, but this is a very rare Best Picture that has won only two awards.  And I wondered if you had any thoughts on why that might be, and I know you probably are not disappointed, but…

A. (Blye Pagon Faust)  I think this is a huge testament to the Academy to recognizing I think ‑‑ its members recognized as though the global, the import of this, of our film, the impact that it’s having and continuing to have.  And I think that that speaks volumes to ‑‑ you know, to this filmmaking community and to the power of film.

Q. Congratulations to you all on your win tonight.

A. (Michael Sugar)  Thank you.

Q. Something you handled very well in the film, I thought, was the effect that the breaking story had on the city of Boston itself as a character.  Can you talk a little bit about the reception you had when you brought the story forth to shoot in ‑‑ in Boston and maybe the help that you got from the film commissioner there and any other people that might have participated?  I know about The Globe, but other people?

A. (Nicole Rocklin)  Sorry.  I’m short.  I think that initially we thought we were going to get a lot more restraint and ‑‑ not restraint, what’s the word? ‑‑ resistance ‑‑ excuse me, I can’t think, this just happened ‑‑ than we actually had.  And we, you know, we were welcomed with open arms in Boston.  And, you know, many people came forward and told us their personal stories and how this has affected them, and that was emotional and moving to all of us.  So thank you to the city of Boston for ‑‑ for really standing behind us.

Q. Hi.

A. (Michael Sugar)  Hi.

Q. Congratulations.  So I was wondering if making this film changed your perception on religion and made you question your own religious feelings of bringing beliefs; what did it do to you?

A. (Nicole Rocklin)  So I don’t think it really changed our look at how we viewed religion.  I think it was more about the institution than it was an attack on religion.  So whether it’s a religious institution, or it’s Flint with water, or if it’s a government agency, that’s really the way we looked at it because it was not an attack in any way on Catholicism.  It really was the institutional issues.

Q. This was at least a little bit of a surprise.  So were you expecting to hear your name called?

A. (Michael Sugar)  It was a huge surprise for us, but I had ‑‑ I had visualized this at my wife’s suggestion for many months.  And in my visualization of this evening, Morgan Freeman always was the person who came out and said SPOTLIGHT.  True story.  And then my wife was visualizing it, and she always ‑‑ I always asked her, “Where were we sitting?”  She said, “Well, the left side.”  And then yesterday we got our tickets and I asked her, “What row?”  In her visualization, she said “Row 8.”  We were in the eighth row.  So I felt really good about that.  So I guess I’m saying there may be some divine intervention in the win for SPOTLIGHT which is ironic, I’m sure.  But no, we are all very completely surprised.  I think anybody who expects to win an Oscar ‑‑ I think Leo was surprised tonight.  And when you actually hear your name called, it’s the most ‑‑ I don’t know ‑‑ I don’t know how you can describe that emotion.  I don’t have words for it.  But I think we are all genuinely, like, thrilled to the core, and not just because it’s a great personal accomplishment for us and for our companies, but it’s really ‑‑ it’s really an opportunity to bring this conversation to a world stage.  And for that, we’re really grateful.  So, thank you, too.  And thank you guys because I think nobody looks at what you do and says thank you, right?  So we are very grateful that you do what you do.  And we’re also sorry that it took us to long to get here.

A. (Nicole Rocklin)  I’m just going to say one other thing.  It was also really meaningful to us because we had all of our reporters and a survivor in the audience tonight.  So it really was personal.  So thank you, guys, very much.

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