Travel and the 2017 Oscar nominated movies

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Movies are a great source of inspiration for travel, so as they roll out the red carpet for the 89th Academy Awards TID looks at where this latest crop of Best Pictures might inspire your wanderlust.

Griffith Observatory, LA

“La La Land”/Los Angeles

The biggest surprise this year will be which Oscar does La La Land NOT get? The ode to LA and jazz has been nominated a whopping 17 times – a record. No other movie has won more than 11 – Ben Hur (the original with Charlton Heston), Titanic and Lord of the Rings are at the top of the leader board.

The retro feel of La La Land made the most mundane parts of Los Angeles look good, even the intersection of two freeways (the 105 and the 110).

But our bet at TID is that the one spot people will want to visit is the road where Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling danced at twilight with the lights of LA twinkling below.

If you want to recreate that shot head for Cathy’s Corner on Mt Hollywood Drive, on the way up to the Griffith Observatory. There’s no park bench or lamppost – they were added for the film.


Montreal, Quebec

The sci-fi pic about mysterious globes of aliens appearing all over Earth was shot in Quebec, Canada. Those luxurious rolling green hills here the orb settled over America is in fact Bass-Saint-Laurent, Quebec. The town sits on the Saint Lawrence River about a 4-hour drive east of Montreal.

Montreal is worth a visit, with it’s Parisian quarter, cobblestone streets and thriving arts scene. Place Jacques Cartier is a popular tourist spot in the centre of the city.



Denzel Washington and his crew transformed a part of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania back to a 1950’s era African-American community.

The Hills District was indeed a centre for Afro-American culture in its early days and a centre for jazz, but it fell on hard times post world war 2 and to this day has a higher than average level of poverty. The gritty TV cop show Hill Street Blues was based on real life experiences of the community.

This is not the place for movie buffs to wander aimlessly with their cameras out. Denzel can get away with it, maybe not you.

“Hacksaw Ridge”/Bringelly, NSW

Centennial Park, Sydney

Mel Gibson’s war epic tells the tale of a pacifist who won the medal of Honour while fighting in Okinawa. But the film was shot on location in and around Sydney, NSW (Gibson’s home for many years).

Most was shot inside Fox Studios in Moore park, but exteriors were filnmed at bringelly in the southern highlands, and the cemetry scene, as well as “Fort Jackson” in Centennial Park.

“Hell or High Water”/New Mexico

Ship Rock, New Mexico

Is set in the arid livestock and oil country of West Texas, but it was shot in neighbouring New Mexico….. just. The town where a great many scenes were shot, Clovis, is just 15 kilometres over the border.

But with marvellous real-life props like Bill’s Jumbo Burger restaurant, who needs to build a set?

Fans of movies and country & western music will love this place, nearby are Amarillo, El Paso, and a little further afield Phoenix (by the time you get there she’ll be rising).

“Hidden Figures”/Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia

This retells the story of the African-American women mathematicians who were behind the NASA space program – unrecognised and un-rewarded of course.

Except in this film the NASA headquarters is actually an old building in Atlanta, on the campus of the Morehouse College.

Atlanta is a great tourist destination with plenty for history buffs. It was crucial in the civil war and the civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr was born in Atlanta.


Hobart, Tasmania

Some scenes are shot in Bengal, India, but of more interest to Aussie audiences are the scenes in Tasmania.

The place where the family plays cricket on the beach? That’s really Marion Bay, east of Hobart.

Get yourself there over the new year period and enjoy the annual The Falls Music and Arts festival.

“Manchester By The Sea”/Manchester By The Sea

Massachusetts coastline

This movie was shot, unsurprisingly in Manchester By The Sea, Massachusetts.

The lighthouse seen in the movie is on Bakers Island, offshore of Manchester (and near Misery Island – charming!).

This is an area of the USA teeming with early white settlement history. Nearby Gloucester was settled before Boston and formed part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A little to the south, on the way to Boston – a great destination in its own right – is Salem. This country is rich pickings for movie buffs.


South Beach, Miami

OK, this is not a comedy film, but if you’re inspired by the stories of crack addiction, abuse and bullying to go and take a look at where it was shot you need to head to Miami, Florida.

The main character, Chiron, grows up in the Liberty Square projects of Miami. Beware, Liberty Square is only 15 kilometres from flashy South Beach and the tourism centres of Miami, but it’s a million miles away in opportunity, hope and safety.

Chiron’s school is Miramar High School, on the way to Fort Lauderdale from Miami.


Travel Insurance Direct and World Nomads author Phil Sylvester offers insights and advice to keep our customers safe and informed when they travel. With 20 year’s experience, Phil has turned his journalist’s eye to the things that could take the fun out of your holiday, researching issues and destinations that keep you informed so you can travel with confidence. He is also co-host of The World Nomads Travel Podcast.


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