The 86th Academy Awards: Oscar Winning Film Locations

By: Claire Bullen

March 3, 2014

While an evening spent watching The Academy Awards in London means nary a wink of sleep, we’re willing to make the sacrifice. The film world’s biggest night is a celebration of all things glitzy and glamorous, and the triumphs of many of the industry’s most talented and creative (not to mention those red carpet outfits) make it a must-see.


For us, the Oscars also tend to inspire a heady dose of wanderlust, and last night’s awards proved no exception. From the beautiful vistas of San Francisco as seen in Blue Jasmine to the glamorous New York of The Great Gatsby, this year’s winning films proffered plenty of travel ideas. Inspired by the winners below, where are you tempted to book your next trip?   


Dallas, Dallas Buyer’s Club


86th Academy Awards | Dallas Buyer's Club

Matthew McConaughey won Best Leading Actor for Dallas Buyer’s Club © Josiane Poulin/iStock/Thinkstock


Matthew McConaughey picked up his very first Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role in Dallas Buyer’s Club, a boundary-pushing film that saw the chiselled actor shrink down to play Ron Woodroof, a macho Texan who looks for an uncommon solution after being unexpectedly diagnosed with HIV. After taking home big awards at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards, McConaughey was the favourite of the evening; his co-star Jared Leto also took home the award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his daring portrayal of an HIV-positive, transgender woman. From the 10-gallon hats and thick accents to the down-home saloons and rodeos of the film, Dallas is evoked in all its Texan glory, though the story also looks at a compelling, lesser-known side of the city’s past.


New Orleans, 12 Years a Slave


86th Academy Awards | 12 Years a Slave

Travellers to New Orleans can learn about the history behind the harrowing and brilliant 12 Years a Slave © MSMcCarthy_Photography/iStock/Thinkstock


The harrowing and brilliant 12 Years a Slave was unquestionably one of the standouts of this year’s film season, and its Best Picture award was richly deserved. The talented Lupita Nyong’o also took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in a move that confirmed her meteoric Hollywood rise. 12 Years A Slave paints an unquestionably bleak image of the South in the decades leading up to the American Civil War. Its powerful sense of place – you feel the mugginess of the Louisiana swamps and the brutality of the plantations keenly while watching – is one of the film’s triumphs. Those eager to learn more about the history underlying the true story can visit New Orleans and its surrounding plantations, where the main character, Solomon Northrup, was first transported and sold into slavery.


San Francisco, Blue Jasmine


86th Academy Awards | Blue Jasmine

Glittering San Francisco makes a beautiful backdrop in Blue Jasmine © Mariusz Blach/iStock/Thinkstock


At turns wickedly humorous and cringingly grim, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine saw Cate Blanchett take on a Lead Actress-winning performance as Jasmine, the fallen socialite and ex-wife of a Bernie Madoff-esque con man who is revealed to be hiding a number of terrible secrets, from a string of mistresses to immense financial corruption. Jasmine is forced to move to San Francisco to stay with her kooky sister and her difficult boyfriend after her marriage unravels. Over the course of the film, we witness her slow loss of sanity, though the bleaker moments are punctuated by sunny shots of San Francisco’s hills and a swanky party held right on the Bay. While Allen typically gravitates towards New York (and the city did indeed get some airtime in this flick too), his sun-drenched vision of San Francisco highlighted the city’s prettiest vistas.


Orlando, Gravity


86th Academy Awards | Gravity

Filmgoers inspired by Gravity can visit the Kennedy Space Center outside of Orlando © Stocktrek Images/Thinkstock


All right, so approximately five minutes of Gravity take place in an earth-bound setting, but for many viewers the space drama, which won Alfonso Cuarón the Oscar for Best Director last night, evoked memories of watching NASA launches as children. Visitors to Orlando in Florida have an easy journey to nearby Cape Canaveral, an outlying stretch of land along the Atlantic Coast that’s home to the Kennedy Space Center; it’s a must-see for those with extra-terrestrial yearnings. Those after an outer space experience of their own may also be inspired to discover the cosmos with Virgin Galactic, which is now taking bookings for its space explorations.


New York, The Great Gatsby


86th Academy Awards | The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby captures decadent New York © Songquan Deng/iStock/Thinkstock


New York as the heart of decadence was the theme across a number of films this year, from the over-the-top Wolf of Wall Street to the luxurious world of finance execs depicted in Blue Jasmine. The Great Gatsby stuck to the message, though the work, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal 1920s novel, evoked a different period of New York glamour and excess. Taking home awards for both Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby showcased New York and Long Island with the appropriate amount of glitter.


Los Angeles, Her


86th Academy Awards | Her

Her is set in a near-future version of Los Angeles © SeanPavonePhoto/iStock/Thinkstock


Her, which won last night’s Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, shows a version of a near-future Los Angeles. The gleaming West Coast city is, in the eyes of director Spike Jonze, a curiously pastel-coloured cityscape, filled with sleek and gleaming skyscrapers that stretch across the horizon. Though the impressive skyline appears throughout the film, a trip to a nearby, sun-drenched beach shows another side of futuristic LA.


Feature image © Davidlohr Bueso


Virgin Atlantic operate direct flights to a range of destinations across the globe. Book your flight today.


Which of these Oscar winning films was your favourite? With these winners in mind, where do you think you’ll be travelling next? Let us know in the comments below.


Written by Claire Bullen


Claire Bullen

Claire is a born globetrotter: before relocating to London, she spent time in New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. When she's not in pursuit of the next exciting meal, she can be found haunting indie bookstores and sketching outdoors. Follow Claire @ClaireMBullen

Categories: Our Places