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Spotlight in Boston: Where the Best Picture winner was filmed

Most of the movie was shot in Toronto, but Boston provided key scenes and backdrops, too.

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Spotlight collected two Oscars on Sunday evening, including Best Picture. The movie depicts the Boston Globe's 2001-2002 investigation into the Catholic child-abuse scandal in an admirably forthright and unsentimental way (we think). Most of the movie was shot in Toronto, with only about four days of filming in Boston.

Therefore, the local flavor in the movie is of the exterior kind: outsides of buildings, skyline panoramas, street sweeps of the South End and Charlestown, one character waiting for the Red Line.

Still, such shots layer the movie with an authenticity that makes it that much more engrossing. Here are 10 Boston sites that made the cut.

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Fenway Park

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The ballpark provided the backdrop for an early scene wherein Globe editors and reporters realize the possible extent of what they're about to uncover. Real-life Spotlight reporter Mike Renzendes can be seen a few rows behind the actors, including Mark Ruffalo, who plays Rezendes.

A row of wooden seats in an open-air ballpark. Emma Krahmer/Shutterstock

South End Buttery

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The cafe is used as a backdrop for a scene of a meeting between Rachel McAdams, who plays reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, and a victim-survivor. The actual South End Buttery did not open until 2005, while the depicted meeting took place in 2001.

Dave Levy via Flickr.

Union Park

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The South End park served as a backdrop for another scene between Pfeiffer/McAdams and the victim-survivor.

Mass. Office of Tourism.

The Pru

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The Pru, the Hancock, and the Boston skyline in general figure prominently in at least two shots. Such shots appear to have been carefully orchestrated, too, so they look very 2002 (e.g., before the current building boom).

In the foreground are trees and wild grass. In the distance are two tall skyscrapers. The sky is full of dark, stormy clouds. Justin/Flickr

Boston College High School

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The exterior of the high school is shown after a particularly portentous scene inside. (That scene was filmed in Toronto.)

The Boston Globe

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The newsroom scenes in Spotlight were shot in a cleverly recreated set in Toronto. We say "cleverly" because, according to Slate, the filmmakers were careful to make sure that even the computer software was circa 2002 (for instance, WordPerfect 3.0 instead of the latest Microsoft Office). There were exterior shots of the Globe's actual Dorchester HQ, however.

Boston Globe.

Old State House

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The Old State House, and the area where Congress and State streets meet in general, figure in at least two shots, including one of Renzendes/Ruffalo jumping out of a cab.

Wikipedia Commons.

Charlestown's Eighth Street

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We counted at least two street sweeps of Charlestown, including one down Eighth Street toward the mouth of the Charles.

Bushari.com.

MBTA JFK/UMass Station

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There is a passing shot of Pfeiffer/McAdams poring over some documents while awaiting the Red Line.

Directory of Boston via Flickr.

Boston Public Library

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Spotlight takes place in the olden days, when journalists commenced serious investigations not with a Google search but with a trip to an information repository--say, the Boston Public Library, the exterior of which features prominently as the Globe reporters start digging.

Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

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Fenway Park

A row of wooden seats in an open-air ballpark. Emma Krahmer/Shutterstock

The ballpark provided the backdrop for an early scene wherein Globe editors and reporters realize the possible extent of what they're about to uncover. Real-life Spotlight reporter Mike Renzendes can be seen a few rows behind the actors, including Mark Ruffalo, who plays Rezendes.

A row of wooden seats in an open-air ballpark. Emma Krahmer/Shutterstock

South End Buttery

Dave Levy via Flickr.

The cafe is used as a backdrop for a scene of a meeting between Rachel McAdams, who plays reporter Sacha Pfeiffer, and a victim-survivor. The actual South End Buttery did not open until 2005, while the depicted meeting took place in 2001.

Dave Levy via Flickr.

Union Park

Mass. Office of Tourism.

The South End park served as a backdrop for another scene between Pfeiffer/McAdams and the victim-survivor.

Mass. Office of Tourism.

The Pru

In the foreground are trees and wild grass. In the distance are two tall skyscrapers. The sky is full of dark, stormy clouds. Justin/Flickr

The Pru, the Hancock, and the Boston skyline in general figure prominently in at least two shots. Such shots appear to have been carefully orchestrated, too, so they look very 2002 (e.g., before the current building boom).

In the foreground are trees and wild grass. In the distance are two tall skyscrapers. The sky is full of dark, stormy clouds. Justin/Flickr

Boston College High School

The exterior of the high school is shown after a particularly portentous scene inside. (That scene was filmed in Toronto.)

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe.

The newsroom scenes in Spotlight were shot in a cleverly recreated set in Toronto. We say "cleverly" because, according to Slate, the filmmakers were careful to make sure that even the computer software was circa 2002 (for instance, WordPerfect 3.0 instead of the latest Microsoft Office). There were exterior shots of the Globe's actual Dorchester HQ, however.

Boston Globe.

Old State House

Wikipedia Commons.

The Old State House, and the area where Congress and State streets meet in general, figure in at least two shots, including one of Renzendes/Ruffalo jumping out of a cab.

Wikipedia Commons.

Charlestown's Eighth Street

Bushari.com.

We counted at least two street sweeps of Charlestown, including one down Eighth Street toward the mouth of the Charles.

Bushari.com.

MBTA JFK/UMass Station

Directory of Boston via Flickr.

There is a passing shot of Pfeiffer/McAdams poring over some documents while awaiting the Red Line.

Directory of Boston via Flickr.

Boston Public Library

Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

Spotlight takes place in the olden days, when journalists commenced serious investigations not with a Google search but with a trip to an information repository--say, the Boston Public Library, the exterior of which features prominently as the Globe reporters start digging.

Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock