Spotlight’s Hollywood Awards March Begins Sunday

Like Good Will Hunting, Spotlight has commingled Toronto and Boston for some dramatic movie magic.

The 1997 drama Good Will Hunting earned nine Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. It wound up winning two Oscars, for Supporting Actor and Original Screenplay.

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This weekend, another drama set in Boston and filmed largely in Toronto will begin its own long march to what is sure to be similar Oscar success. Director Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, who co-authored Spotlight, are being honored at the Hollywood Film Awards Nov. 1 with the Hollywood Screenwriter Award.

For Goodwill, the University of Toronto stood in for Harvard and MIT; for Spotlight, an abandoned Sears warehouse in Etobicoke (adjacent to a still operational factory outlet) was commandeered to recreate the Boston Globe newsroom. Production designer Stephen H. Carter, a local who was also an art director on Michael Keaton’s 2014 triumph Birdman, wrangled newsroom accouterments from another Globe newspaper – the Toronto Globe and Mail. Per a recent New York Times write-up:

Many of the props and set decorations came from The Globe and Mail in Toronto, which sold its longtime headquarters in 2012 to retail and residential developers… “We even ended up renting their old cubicles,” Mr. Carter said. “We wanted organic and real, slightly dated and mismatched. History.”

Spotlight, after wowing critics at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, is set to open in select U.S. cities Nov. 6. Today, Globe and Mail reviewer Barry Hertz writes that while Spotlight is the ‘perfect journalism movie,’ Truth, debuting there today, is a ‘shambolic’ mess.

Meanwhile, the year of Good Will Hunting’s Oscar-qualifying release, 1997, was also coincidentally when Carlos de Abreu launched his annual Hollywood Film Festival and awards event. In the wake of dismal 2014 ratings, however, this Sunday’s Beverly Hilton festivities will not be televised.

Disclosure: Dick Clark Productions, purchased in 2012 by Adweek parent Guggenheim Partners, is a current partner in the Hollywood Film Awards.

Previously on FishbowlNY:
Reviewers Give Spotlight Top Marks for Newsroom Authenticity
In Defense of Carlos de Abreu