If you haven’t caught up on your Oscar-nominated movies yet, now is the time; the ceremony is just around the corner! Travelers, in particular, may be invested in this year’s noms, as many of them cast their locations as co-stars. These destinations don’t just provide the setting for the plot and characters; they become characters themselves, as they’re full of color and personality. The films simply wouldn’t be the same if shot in other locations.
Before February 22, make sure you catch up on these destination-based films.
Budapest (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
If using location as character was an award, then this year it would surely go to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Director, Wes Anderson uses the capital and largest city in Hungary as a backdrop to tell the story of a complicated hotel manager and his bellhop. While the location in the film is based more on the idea of the city rather than the city itself, Anderson uses the locale to evoke a fantastic mood that is distinctly European. After watching it, you’ll be anxious to throw your voltage converters in your suitcase, and set out on a trans-continental vacation.
The Sierra Nevada wilderness (Wild)
The Sierra Nevada wilderness is one of the most beautiful areas of the western United States – which is saying something. In the film, Reese Witherspoon’s character sets out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, a massive undertaking that stretches from the U.S.-Mexico border all the way up to Canada. A large portion of the trail traverses through California’s Sierra Nevadas, a rugged landscape comprised of massive sequoias, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Climbing the PCT is a dream for backpackers and outdoor enthusiasts from around the world, and represents one of the best ways to experience California.
New York City (Birdman)
In a way, Birdman evokes the old version of The Big Apple. Michael Keaton’s character faces insurmountable odds as he finances, writes, directs and stars in a Broadway play in an attempt to re-ignite his career, and try to reconnect with his estranged daughter. The New York of Birdman is electric, explosive and not very forgiving. Today, of course, NYC is a family-friendly destination that allows everyone to participate in its cultural institutions and scenery without worry. You can’t experience the kind of edge for which the city was (in)famous before it was cleaned up in the late 90s / early 2000s, but it remains a popular and necessary destination for anyone who enjoys culture, cuisine, and diversity.
The family at the center of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is scattered throughout Texas, moving from one town to another as Patricia Arquette’s character moves between jobs and men. By showing us different locations and the ordinary places and people who populate them, Linklater paints a colorful picture of a particular place. The mannerisms of its people, the look of the geography – it’s impossible to watch this film and not have a sense of what it’s like to live in Texas. Austin, the city’s capital, is featured prominently and remains a destination for travelers from all over the world.