Year-End Kudos Off to the Races

Get ready for the December glut of critics awards and major nominations! Last night were the Gotham Awards, an NYC-hosted celebration of independent film. I covered the highlights over at The Film Experience, and it was a delightfully quick-witted ceremony capped by a delightful tribute to Todd Haynes introduced by his comrade and muse Julianne Moore.

Today the National Board of Review, typically the first out of the gate for critics organizations kudos, announced Mad Max: Fury Road as the best film of the year. They had major love for The Martian, winning Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Actor (Matt Damon), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Drew Goddard). Other major players were Room and The Hateful Eight with two significant wins each, and joined The Martian in the NBR’s Top Ten Films of the Year list. Check out the rest of their votes!

Tomorrow, we’ll see prizes from the New York Film Critics’ Circle, with more to come in the following week and the Golden Globe nominations arriving on the 10th. I’m playing catch-up these few weeks, but you can expect the filmmixtape Best of 2015 sometime closer to the Oscar cermony this February.

In Review!: “Spotlight”

With a resume of modest and economical dramas reflecting on everyday folk, director Thomas McCarthy has taken an unassuming approach to charismatic ensembles like his previous films Win Win and The Station Agent. His newest effort, Spotlight, continues that economy but with a sharper urgency that demands your attention and earns your rage. Expect more than your average true story of journalistic heroism.

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In 2002, The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team (the oldest investigative journalism crew in the country) uncovered cases of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests within the Boston community and the infrastructure within the church that allowed the abuse to continue. Their findings revealed systemic implications for the global Catholic church and earned them a Pulitzer Prize, not to mention creating a national dialogue that allowed further silenced victims to come forward. Spotlight’s members, as depicted in the film, all connect personally with the case in various ways, but their work is fueled by the silent cycle of abuse perpetuated by those in and outside the church willfully turning a blind eye.

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