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‘Spotlight’ screenwriter Josh Singer reveals what went into his Oscar win

Tom McCarthy, left, and Josh Singer.Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Just minutes into the Oscar telecast on Sunday night, Josh Singer already knew he’d be going home with at least one little gold man. The evening’s first award, best original screenplay, went to Singer and Tom McCarthy for “Spotlight,” their telling of the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.

Accepting the award, Singer, a Harvard Law grad whose previous writing credits include “The West Wing” and “The Fifth Estate,” thanked the “Spotlight” cast and crew, and his father, “who taught me how to dream.”

McCarthy, who also directed, dedicated the screenwriting award to survivors “whose courage and will to overcome is really an inspiration.” He added, “We made this film for all the journalists who have and continue to hold the powerful accountable.”


Later in the evening, when “Spotlight” picked up the Oscar for best picture, McCarthy and Singer returned to the stage, along with the film’s producers and members of the cast. Though the mood was triumphant, the focus of their remarks both during the telecast and backstage with reporters continued to be on victims of abuse and the continued importance of investigative media.

Back in late October, just before “Spotlight” opened in Boston, Singer sat down with the Globe’s film editor, Janice Page, at the Globe offices on Morrissey Boulevard to talk about how the movie had evolved, and what he’d learned about journalism — and the private lives of real Boston journalists — in the process. Watch the interview here:

Josh Singer talks about researching and writing “Spotlight”.
Josh Singer talks about researching and writing "Spotlight".