Now here at FHR we can’t just breeze by film awards season without a passing nod. In fact, we can’t breeze by it without at least a half decent look at what’s been nominated for one of the film industry’s most prestigious awards – the Academy Awards.
Known colloquially as the Oscars, thanks apparently to executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick saying it resembled her uncle Oscar, these bad boys are considered by many an actor and actress as the pinnacle of their profession, the ultimate accolade for an artist of the theatrical variety.
This year the categories: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, have caused a large controversy over the complete lack of nominations for non-white actors and actresses, a debate which has taken over much of the entertainment industry’s article space in recent weeks.
Other categories at the Academy Awards include: Animated Feature Film, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short, Film Editing, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music – Original Score, Music – Original Song, Production Design, Short Film (Animated), Short Film (Live Action), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Writing – Original Screenplay.
We are going to focus on a few of the Best Picture nominees, and more importantly the film locations used in those movies that are worth visiting.
- The Big Short
Based around the 2008 financial crash, as quite a few movies seem to be these days – how quickly present-day becomes history, this movie follows four characters, played by, Brad Pitt, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale. It shows the story of how these characters managed to make a fortune while others were losing everything in the crash of 2008 thanks to their weird and whacky ways of reading the market.
Filmed primarily in New Orleans and Manhattan this movie takes in some great locations. New Orleans was founded in the early 1700s by the French and bought back from the Spanish by the United States in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. This city is a fascinating backdrop for any traveller wishing to take in something new.
It’s been the setting for many movies and TV series over the years including The Originals (2013-), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Pelican Brief (1993). Home to one of the biggest merging of cultures New Orleans is described as one of America’s most culturally and historically-rich destinations. Whether you want to stay in the beautiful hotels of the French quarter, find some of the famous music clubs that developed what we now understand as jazz or understand the wild and fascinating festival of Mardi Gras which starts with enjoying a day of King Cakes from the best New Orleans bakeries, New Orleans is one of the most fantastic places in the world, no wonder it’s a coveted film location.
- Bridge of Spies
Set in the midst of the Cold War, 1957, this film takes place partly in the divided heart of the Cold War conflict, Berlin. It follows New York lawyer James Donovan, who is enlisted to provide a pro-bono defence (legal work undertaken without charge), for Rudolf Abel, a man accused of spying for the Russians. Donovan then gets sent by the CIA to East Berlin to conduct negotiations for the exchange of Abel and U.S. Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers.
Film locations included Poland, Germany and the States, but for our purposes we’ll be looking at Berlin. Famously divided in 1961 visitors can still see the remains of the 5.7km Berlin Wall through the city which was torn down in 1990. Or how about visiting Checkpoint Charlie or Checkpoint C – the well known Berlin Wall crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War? It’s a fascinating place to get a feel for the Cold War with loads of information that gives you an idea of what it meant to live in that era.
If you really want to step away from it all you can slope off to the Berlin Zoo housing the richest variety of species anywhere in the world, look up in awe at the Brandenburg Gate or sore above the city in the Sky Tower. Even better, how about stepping back in time at the Sanssouci Palace to a time when Germany was not Germany, and the lands were ruled over by a royal house with a member, namely Frederick the Great, remarking, ‘A crown is just a hat that lets the rain in’? Get lost in the Sanssouci Palace’s 18th century furnishings and adjacent vineyard terraces and the surroundings of the philosopher King Frederick the Great.
- The Revenant
The question in most cinephiles minds is whether or not this is Leonardo Dicaprio’s year for an Oscar. Slighted on no less than 4 occasions, this could well be Leonardo’s chance!
The Revenant, meaning someone who has supposedly returned from the dead, is a tale of revenge seen through the eyes of Hugh Glass (Dicaprio) an experienced hunter. In 1823, while out hunting, the party are attacked by Native American Arikara Indians and have to escape. Hugh Glass when separated from his fellow trappers is attacked by a mother grizzly bear which he manages to kill after being severely wounded himself. The film then sees the trappers find and provide Glass with basic medical help before arguing over whether to take him with them or leave him for dead. After being betrayed he goes on a journey of revenge tracking across the wild lands of the Louisiana Purchase.
So, it does seem to be the sort of film made for an Oscar, but we’re not betting either way on that front. What we are going to look at is the interesting film locations which include: Canada, the USA, Mexico and Argentina. This is an interesting array of film locations – no doubt chasing snow featured heavily in the director’s mind for this winter-based film. We’ve chosen Kananaskis Country, an area of parks and reserves in the Canadian Rockies adjacent to the famous Banff National Park, as a place to visit as this is where the majority of the movie was filmed.
Canada is a great place to visit thanks to the spectacular landscape in both the mild summers and snowy winters – the perfect combination for holidaymakers. Kananaskis Country is situated in the western half of Canada in the province of Alberta and it’s the kind of location that will stand you in awe of a nature that you will need to be sartorially equipped for. It won’t be a simple British anorak that will get you through the winters which hit an easy -10.0°C so you need to make sure you’ve got your down and wind-proof jackets for this one – Leonardo made use of animal skins but we’ve gotten a bit more technical since 1823.
You can take a helicopter tour of the area, which gives you access to wild country that’s usually off-limits for normal travellers, or go skiing on those Canadian Rockies at the Nakiska Ski Resort. Alternatively, if you’d prefer a slower journey, one which allows you to absorb more of the scenery, you can go hiking on Rawon’s lake trail, or go trail riding at one of the many ranches in the area – let the horses find their feet while you just sit back and absorb. If you prefer using all fours then there are climbing tours which will get you up thousand-year-old rocks for fantastic views of the country.
Well, there you have it, our top 3 pick of the Oscar Best Picture Nominees for 2016 – now there are two things you can do with this post:
- Use it to inform your decision on who should be winning the Academy Award for Best Picture
- Use it to inform your decision on where to visit in 2016
Although we like the idea of idea no. 1, we think it would be way more fun to do idea no.2!