by Brooke Robinson
The clips of the film shown at the Oscars displayed its all-star cast: Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams (both of whom were nominated for Best Supporting Actor/Actress), Michael Keaton, Billy Crudup, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and – who was that man with the mustache?
Although he isn’t well known in Hollywood (yet), theatergoers in the Oscars audience were thrilled to see the face of one of the most seasoned veterans of the stage, Brian d’Arcy James.
34 million people watched as Spotlight upset The Revenant, the favorite to win, and took home the Academy Award for Best Picture on February 28. Spotlight, which was nominated for six Oscars total, had only won Best Original Screenplay for its script by Tom McCarthy prior to this.
Spotlight is not d’Arcy James’s first time on screen, having previously appeared in Smash, Ghost Town, Game Change, and The Good Wife, among other movies and TV shows. However, he is still best known for his performances in the theatre. Since first appearing on Broadway in 1993, he has been in over 20 shows on and off-Broadway. He’s no stranger to the White House either, having performed for both the Clintons and the Obamas. With every show he has proven the extent of his expansive acting range, from the well-intentioned husband of a woman struggling with mental illness in Next to Normal to King George III of England in the pre-Broadway run of the smash hit Hamilton to a flatulent green ogre in Shrek. The cast of his current show, Something Rotten, showed their support in a video posted the day of the Academy Awards.
In Spotlight, d’Arcy James portrays Matt Carroll, a reporter for The Boston Globe. Carroll was a member of a four-person unit of investigative journalists at The Globe called Spotlight. The film focuses on the team’s investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the Boston area and the resulting Pulitzer-prize winning articles, which were published in 2002. The real-life impact of the film was starkly illustrated just two days after this year’s Academy Awards when the Altoona-Johnstown diocese in Pennsylvania made headlines for the hundreds of children who had been abused by its priests.
It’s been a busy time for d’Arcy James. In addition to standing on the stage of the Dolby Theatre as a cast member of the Best Picture winner, it was announced that he will star in the pilot for a new CBS sitcom. He will play the owner of a Chicago donut shop in the series, which is based on the Broadway play Superior Donuts written by Tracy Letts.
Besides continuing to perform in a hit Broadway musical and starring in a new TV show, what else is next for this Michigan native? As if he hasn’t already proven how talented and versatile he is, d’Arcy James is also working on producing a stage adaptation of Kevin Gilbert’s rock opera album The Shaming of the True. He recently announced that there will be a live performance of the album at Joe’s Pub, though the date and time are to be announced.
Brian d’Arcy James is the epitome of a humble, kind, hard-working family man. His extensive work as an actor, both onstage and onscreen, have made him worthy of standing on the Academy Awards stage. Perhaps this role will earn him the Hollywood recognition he deserves, but let’s hope Los Angeles never lures him away from Broadway for too long.
Were you rooting for Brian during this awards season? What do you think it will take for d’Arcy to finally win a Tony? Let us know in the comments below.