storytelling

By Ben Mullin and Jim Warren • February 29, 2016

Walter Robinson is still a little hoarse.

It’s been less than 24 hours since “Spotlight,” the dramatization of The Boston Globe’s investigation into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal, pulled off a stunning upset at the 88th annual Academy Awards.

Robinson, who led the depicted investigation as the editor of The Boston Globe’s Spotlight team, was in attendance Sunday night. When the movie won Best Picture, he did plenty of shouting.

“We’re just delighted,” said Robinson, who’s portrayed in the movie by Academy Award nominee Michael Keaton. “I think going into last night, we felt a little uncertain about Hollywood. We felt that ‘Spotlight’ was the most important movie of the year, but we didn’t know if Hollywood would equate that with Best Picture.”

Robinson and his Globe colleagues, who’ve been in Los Angeles since the end of last week, stayed out until after midnight celebrating the win with actors who portrayed them in the film. The festivities were a nice reminder that Hollywood, which often caters to America’s “baser desires,” has an appreciation for serious stories, Robinson said.

“It’s an affirmation of the importance of in-depth journalism of all sorts against long and lengthening odds,” Robinson said. “It’s a reminder to the public that if the press doesn’t hold powerful individuals accountable, no one else will. And it’s a great shot in the arm for newspaper journalism — particularly when there’s so little to be excited about.”

Sacha Pfeiffer, the former Spotlight reporter portrayed by Rachel McAdams in the movie, remembers “pandemonium” among her colleagues when the win was announced but says that she was in a state of “stunned silence.” In the moments leading up to the announcement, she was bracing herself to console her friends after “The Revenant” won.

She says she and her colleagues attended three after-parties — the Governor’s Ball, the party held by the production company and the Vanity Fair party. She’s approached the glitz and glamour of Hollywood from the perspective of an outside observer rather than a participant, she said.

“Our jobs give us access to fascinating people and places that we don’t normally get access to, and this movie has done the same thing,” Pfeiffer said. “It’s let us parachute into Hollywood.”

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