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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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1. Fenway Park

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4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 267-1700
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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

2. South End Buttery

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314 Shawmut Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 482-1015
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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.

3. 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.

4. The Pru

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800 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199

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

5. Boston College High School

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150 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 929-9400
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The exterior of the high school is shown after a particularly portentous scene inside. (That scene was filmed in Toronto.)

6. The Boston Globe

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135 William T Morrissey Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02125

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.

7. Old State House

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206 Washington St
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 720-1713
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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.

8. Charlestown's Eighth Street

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1st Ave & 8th St
Boston, MA 02129

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

Bushari.com.

9. MBTA JFK/UMass Station

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Columbia Rd.
Boston, MA 02125
(617) 222-3200
Visit Website

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

Directory of Boston via Flickr.

10. Boston Public Library

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700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-5400
Visit Website

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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1. Fenway Park

4 Yawkey Way, Boston, MA 02215
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.

4 Yawkey Way
Boston, MA 02215

2. South End Buttery

314 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118
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.

314 Shawmut Ave
Boston, MA 02118

3. Union Park

Boston, MA 02118
Mass. Office of Tourism.

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

4. The Pru

800 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
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).

800 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199

5. Boston College High School

150 William T Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125

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

150 William T Morrissey Blvd
Boston, MA 02125

6. The Boston Globe

135 William T Morrissey Blvd, Dorchester, MA 02125
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.

135 William T Morrissey Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02125

7. Old State House

206 Washington St, Boston, MA 02109
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.

206 Washington St
Boston, MA 02109

8. Charlestown's Eighth Street

1st Ave & 8th St, Boston, MA 02129
Bushari.com.

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

1st Ave & 8th St
Boston, MA 02129

9. MBTA JFK/UMass Station

Columbia Rd., Boston, MA 02125
Directory of Boston via Flickr.

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

Columbia Rd.
Boston, MA 02125

10. Boston Public Library

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
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.

700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116