Journalism and the Oscars: When Two Movies About Newspapers Were Big Winners

The Oscars rarely celebrate good journalism but two newspapers—the Boston Globe and Washington Post–had moments of Hollywood fame, the Post in 1977 for “All the President’s Men” and the Globe in 2016 for “Spotlight.”

In 1977, the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to Jason Robards, who played Post executive editor Ben Bradlee. But neither Robert Redford nor Dustin Hoffman, who played Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were finalists. Winner of the Best Actor Oscar that year was Peter Finch from “Network.”

Jane Alexander from “All the President’s Men” was a finalist for Best Supporting Actress—she played a bookkeeper at President Nixon’s committee to re-elect the President; she lost to Beatrice Straight from “Network.” Alan Pakula was a finalist for directing “All the President’s Men” but lost to John Avidsen, who directed “Rocky.”

In Best Picture, “All the President’s Men” lost to “Rocky.” But in the writing a screenplay from another medium, William Goldman won for “All the President’s Men.” Winner for writing directly for the film went to Paddy Chayefsky for “Network.”

In 2016, “Spotlight,” the story of a Boston Globe investigation, led by then-editor Marty Baron, into sexual abuses of young boys by priests in the Catholic Church, won Best Picture, beating out “The Big Short, “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn” and four other films.

Mark Ruffalo from “Spotlight” was a finalist for Best Supporting Actor but lost to Mark Rylance from “Bridge of Spies.”

“Spotlight’s” Rachel McAdams was a finalist for Best Supporting Actress; she lost to Alicia Vikander from “The Danish Girl.”

But in Best Original Screenplay, Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer did win for “Spotlight.”


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