29 Feb 2016

In the ‘Spotlight’

Screenwriter wins an Oscar for his role in telling the story of clergy sex abuse


When Josh Singer graduated from Harvard in 2001 with a joint JD/MBA, he headed to Los Angeles with the idea of working on the business side of media and entertainment. He interned at the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, but in a plot twist so typical for Tinseltown, he ended up writing a script on spec for the TV series “The West Wing,” which was passed from a friend to one of the show’s producers. And with that, Singer’s new role as a screenwriter was launched.

Following “The West Wing,” Singer wrote the screenplay for the film “The Fifth Estate,” the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, which was a critical flop. But the tide turned Sunday night when Singer joined director Tom McCarthy in accepting the Academy Award for best original screenplay for their work on Spotlight, the best-picture winner about the journalistic effort to expose the clergy sex abuse scandal inside the Roman Catholic Church.

“This is something I love to do, work on real-life stories, because I’m a student at heart,” Singer told Harvard Law Today last week. “I love doing research on topics I have absolutely no knowledge of.

“I don’t know if enough writers talk about this,” he added. “It was very difficult. Frankly, it was devastating. At the end of the day, I’ve reconciled. I’m pretty proud of the work, and that work was absolutely foundational for [Spotlight].”

Read more about Singer in Harvard Law Today, and watch a video interview he did recently with the Boston Globe.

Featured Alumni

Featured Alumni

Class of MBA 2000, Section A

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