Running down the competitors for the LAPC’s prize honoring films inspired by true events.
The Los Angeles Press Club’s Veritas Award honors movies based on real people and real events. The word “veritas” is Latin for “truth.” But Hollywood demands room for artistic license to bring deeper truths to the big screen.
The Press Club’s 1,000 members choose the Veritas winner. Want to participate? Join the Club! Ballots go out in January.
Movies that have been honored start with true stories and turn them into great art. Fittingly, journalism played a starring role in several past winners. Last year’s award went to “She Said,” which brought to life the New York Times journalists who exposed Harvey Weinstein’s history of predatory and sexual abuse of women in Hollywood. “Bombshell,” in 2020, depicted a women’s revolt against sexual predators at Fox News.
In 2018, “The Post” dramatized the Washington Post’s decision to publish the Pentagon Papers and blow the lid off classified documents about the ill-fated U.S. buildup in the Vietnam War. The first Veritas winner, “Spotlight,” portrayed the Boston Globe’s investigation of child molesters in the Catholic Church.
The 10 finalists for the 2024 Veritas Award, in alphabetical order, are:
“Cassandro”: Gael Garcia Bernal plays a flamboyant lucha libre character created by the real-life Saul Armendariz, a gay wrestler from El Paso who rose to international stardom. Writen by David Teague and Roger Ross Williams. Directed by Williams. Production company: Amazon Studios.
“Ferrari”: In the summer of 1957, an ex-race car champion-turned-entrepreneur named Enzo Ferrari ran an auto brand that struggled to establish a reputation as a winner. This is the story of how he pushed himself and his drivers to compete in a 1,000-mile race across Italy. Written by Troy Kennedy Martin and Brock Yates. Directed by Michael Mann. Production company: Neon.
“Killers of the Flower Moon”: Oil is discovered on Osage Nation land in Oklahoma in the 1920s, enriching members of the tribe who are murdered one by one—until the FBI arrives to track down the killers. Writen by Eric Roth, Martin Scorsese and David Grann. Directed by Scorsese. Production company: Paramount Pictures.
“Maestro”: Leonard Bernstein, the classical music conductor and composer, falls in love with Costa Rican actress Felicia Montealegre. The complex romance spans 30 years. Written by Cooper and Josh Singer. Directed by Bradley Cooper. Production company: Netflix.
“Napoleon”: The saga of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, his epic campaigns on battlefields, and his volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. Written by David Scarpa. Directed by Ridley Scott. Production companies: Columbia Pictures and Apple Studios.
“Nyad”: At age 60, Diana Nyad swam 110 miles from Cuba to Florida, braving sharks, sting rays and naysayers, coaxed along by her coach and support team. Written by Nyad and Julia Cox. Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. Production companies: Black Bear Pictures and Netflix.
“Oppenheimer”: Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer became a hero for spearheading the development of the atomic bomb, but later faced character assassination for ties to communists after he questioned the U.S. nuclear program. Written by Nolan, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Production company: Universal Pictures.
“Origin”: A writer sets out to investigate the unspoken system that has shaped human history, based on the book “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson. Written and directed by Ava DuVernay. Production company: Neon.
“Priscilla”: As a teen, she was swept away by Elvis Presley, marrying the rock icon, and becoming both his best friend and a prisoner of a superstar spouse. Written by Sofia Coppola, Sandra Harmon and Priscilla Presley. Directed by Coppola. Production company: American Zoetrope.
“Rustin”: Bayard Rustin, an adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr., faced not only racism but homophobia as he campaigned for civil rights and helped orchestrate the 1963 March on Washington. Written by Julian Breece and Dustin Lance Black. Directed by George C. Wolfe. Production companies: Higher Ground Productions and Netflix.