Spotlight; the Oscar Winner…of What?

Top Box Office Revenues of 2015 Movies

Movie                                       Total Revenue 2015                 Number of Theaters

1. Star Wars                             $926,508.00                                       4134

2. Jurassic World                    $652,270.00                                        4274

3. Avengers                             $459.005.00                                        4276

4. Inside Out                           $356,461.00                                        3946

5. Furious 7                             $353,007.00                                        4022

6. Minions                               $336,045.00                                        4311

7. The Hunger Games           $281,723.00                                        4175

8. The Martian*                     $228,387.00                                        3854

9. Cinderella                           $201,151.00                                        3848

10. Spectre                             $199,850.00                                        3929

15. The Revenant*                $171,749.00                                        3711

21. Mad Max Fury Road*     $153,636.00                                        3722

42. Bridge of Spies*                 $72,264.00                                         2873

44. The Big Short*                    $68,688.00                                        2529

69. Spotlight                             $39,478.00                                        1212

Hollywood is a curious place.  What exactly is the purpose of the movie industry?  How is success measured?  Do certain results represent the thinking of the country and or culture? Is Hollywood just agenda driven?

There are a myriad of answers for sure.  I find the statistics above interesting.  Listed are the top 10 money making movies of 2015.  In the top ten only one was nominated for best movie by the Academy of Motion Pictures. What does that mean?   It appears that the mainstream of the culture is not going to movies the Hollywood elites believe are the best the industry produce.  Apparently, success for the Hollywood Academy is not measured by ticket sales.   Only one nomination made it into the top ten revenue producers and the winner for best picture was 870 million dollars behind Star Wars at number sixty-nine.

There is a whole lot of fodder for discussion for sure.  For me, I very curious about the winner for Best Picture and why so few people have taken the time and money to see it.  How and why did it garner the coveted Oscar for Best Picture?

Spotlight is a two hour investigative documentary about the scandal of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church uncovered by the Boston Globe in 2001.  The words investigative documentary eliminates about 100 million right off the bat.  The words Sexual Abuse account for the next 700 million. The question asked very early in the movie is, “­­­­why the silence?”  One of the actors answers, “the guilt and shame.”

I have been working with this issue directly for ten years now.  Spotlight does a good job of once again exposing the truth that sexual abuse is a rampant plague of evil at catastrophic levels across this country.  When the credits roll at the end, the movie lists over 600 cities where sexual abuse was identified just in the Catholic Church institutions.  The tip of the iceberg in terms of the overall issue which is in way exclusive to the Catholic Church.  It is everywhere.  The movie ends with phone calls streaming into the Globe offices from hundreds of survivors.

To put this issue on the big screen and bring awareness to the evil that is all around us is commendable.  I want to believe that the Academy of Motion Pictures selected the movie based on the message because the acting is average at best. However, I am skeptical that the sole purpose was to shed light on the culture and expanse of sexual abuse.  I sensed that the real motivation was to disparage the Catholic Church in the name of compassion.

What I have learned clearly is that it is time to move past the Awareness issue.  EVERYONE knows this is going on.  It was no surprise to the church and it is no surprise to anyone everywhere today.  Awareness is not the issue anymore.  The issue is how to address the healing process.  Money and court settlements are not the answer.  Tearing down institutions to garner revenge or gain monetary restitution will never heal the brokenness in the soul.  The wounded need the open arms of loving healers.  Survivors that know the pain, know the struggle, know the shame. I believe the institutions are neither equipped nor interested in walking into the mess sexual abuse creates.

Healing takes a survivor, finding the healing themself, then walking one on one daily with another survivor for as long as it takes.  The enemy has the high ground on this and is not going to relinquish it.

I have experienced and witnessed the healing…I will not lose hope for others.


About Bill Harbeck

Founder and Director of Holding on to Hope Ministries. A non-profit work that helps survivors of childhood sexual abuse unveil their past and begin the healing process. Author of the book Shattered; One Man's Journey from Childhood Sexual Abuse
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