In an upset, Spotlight, a movie about a team of Boston Globe journalists who uncovered the lengths of the Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandal in the Boston Archdiocese, won Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards Sunday night.
The film chronicles the work of Spotlight, a team of Globe investigative journalists and their tireless effort to expose the crimes and the cover-up in stories that began appearing more than 15 years ago.
"We would not be here today without the heroic efforts of our reporters," said producer Blye Pagon Faust in her acceptance speech. "Not only did they affect global change, but they absolutely show us the necessity for investigative journalism."
The win came as a surprise to many, but not to the all-star cast, which included Michael Keaton as reporter Walter Robinson, Rachel McAdams as Sacha Pfeiffer and Mark Ruffalo, who was nominated for his role as Globe reporter Mike Rezendes.
The Spotlight team was there to enjoy the night, including Pfeiffer, Rezendes, and Robinson, who all still work at the Globe. Former Globe editor Marty Baron, now executive editor of the Washington Post, as well as Matt Carroll and Ben Bradlee Jr. were also in attendance at the Dolby Theatre.
Rezendes, who sat with his on-screen doppelganger Ruffalo, joined the cast on stage for the win.
"This film gave a voice to survivors. And this Oscar amplifies that voice, which we hope will become a choir that will resonate all the way to the Vatican," said producer Michael Sugar. "Pope Francis, it's time to protect the children and restore the faith."
Spotlight, which also took home the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, won Best Film at the Independent Spirit Awards as well as the Critics Choice Award for Best Picture. The real Spotlight won journalism's top award: the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.
The film has brought in $40 million in four months, far less than best picture nominees The Martian, The Revenant, and Mad Max: Fury Road. But a Best Picture win will most certainly give it a renewed interest at the box office in the coming weeks.