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LOS ANGELES (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is honoring "Spotlight" with its premier award.
The film, released in November, received the award for Best Picture of the year, the highest accolade given by the Academy, at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony. The movie was additionally honored with the award for Best Original Screenplay for writers Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy; McCarthy also received a nomination for directing the film, but lost to Alejandro González Iñárritu for his historical drama "The Revenant."
Producers of the film, which showcases the Boston Globe spotlight team's uncovering of the Boston clerical homosexual sex abuse cover-up, said they hope the message of the film will "resonate all the way to the Vatican," with producer Michael Sugar calling on Pope Francis to "protect the children and restore the Faith."
"Spotlight" was a hit with both critics and audiences alike, receiving a 96 percent approval rating from critics and 94 percent from audiences, according to review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus declares the drama "gracefully handles the lurid details of its fact-based story while resisting the temptation to lionize its heroes, resulting in a drama that honors the audience as well as its real-life subjects."
The film was additionally well received by many in the Church hierarchy, with Cdl. Sean O'Malley of Boston, who heads the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, describing the film as depicting a "very painful time in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States" and commending the spotlight team for instigating "a call for the Church to take responsibility for its failings and to reform itself."
Archbishop Charles Scicluna, former chief prosecutor of clerical sex abuse cases for the Vatican, went so far as to insist "[a]ll bishops and cardinals must see" the film, as they need to understand "it is reporting that will save the Church," not a code of silence.
Catholic film critic Steven D. Greydanus wrote that "Spotlight" confronts audiences "in a new way with the disastrous consequences of patterns of denial and deception.
"For Catholic viewers, clerical and lay," he continued, "it can be seen as a dramatic witness to the profound need to expect and insist on a culture of openness, transparency and accountability. The Church is called to be the light of the world. We must not fear to turn a spotlight on ourselves."
ChurchMilitant.com's Michael Voris also called the film "an absolute must-see for every faithful Catholic," as it reminds the faithful the "ugly work" of ridding the Church of malicious forces within the establishment must begin with "shining the spotlight" on it.
In a recent episode of "Mic'd Up," Michael Voris spoke with "Spotlight" screenwriter and Oscar winner Josh Singer, who asserted that despite the work that has been done since the scandal broke in 2002, there are still many within the Church sustaining the code of silence with regard to the homosexual abuse crisis.