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The Oscars 2011: Our Favourite Film Locations

by rob-gordon February 2011 - last edited February 2013 by Community Manager

The Oscars are just around the corner. Behind every good film there's a great backdrop so let's take a minute to thank the unsung stars of the movies - the places they were filmed. It’s been a fantastic year for the silver screen, so here’s a look at some of our favourite locations for this year’s nominees.

 

Inception: Los Angeles

Spring Street, LA © julesjulesjules m on Flickr

Spring Street, LA © julesjulesjules m on Flickr

 

Inception is a real jetsetter – filmed in the mountains near Calgary, the streets of Paris, the rooftops of Tokyo, and even Tangier’s Grand Souk.

This diverse range of locations was exactly what was needed for a film taking place in people’s dreams – one moment running through the winding alleys of an African city, the next sipping café on Rue César Franck.

For many, though, one of the most memorable scenes took place on Spring Street, Los Angeles – a car chase abruptly stopped by the force of a locomotive ploughing through the traffic.

 

Blue Valentine: Brooklyn

Blue Valentine tells the tragic tale of a failing relationship. The film itself is propelled by the use of home – in leading man Ryan Gosling’s case, home being Brooklyn. An achingly tense scene between Gosling and lead actress (and Oscar nominee) Michelle Williams leads to Gosling climbing the barriers of Brooklyn Bridge and threatening to jump. What makes this scene all the more dangerous was that it was entirely improvised, and as Gosling peered over into the waters of the East River, there were no safety nets. The result is a film so raw, so uncompromising, that you can’t help but think it’s reality.

 

Brooklyn Bridge © Florin Draghici on Flickr

Brooklyn Bridge © Florin Draghici on Flickr

 

The King’s Speech: London

The sets of The King’s Speech had to undergo dramatic makeovers to get them looking the part. The Pullens Estate - some of the last remaining Victorian tenement buildings in London - was covered in 1930s billboards, and a building on Portland Place, Marylebone, was turned into the office of Lionel Logue.

 

The King's Speech © Lancashire County Council

The King's Speech © Lancashire County Council

 

However, the real ‘star performer’ was Lancaster House , a grand mansion now managed by the Foreign Office, which played the daunting role of Buckingham Palace. It helped to create a real sense of the period – and gave The King’s Speech a genuine Britishness that matched the story perfectly.

 

Lancaster House, London

Lancaster House, London

 

Black Swan: New York City

Black Swan is all about contrast; in the plot, it’s about the conflicting personas of the black and white swan, and this is mirrored fantastically in the setting. New York gave director Darren Aronofsky the perfect place to contrast the glamour and elegance of the surroundings to the dark, insular storyline. From Bowling Green park in Manhattan through to the scenes in the Lincoln Center and the Concert Hall in the affluent town of Purchase, Natalie Portman’s character Nina is given a glimpse of the breathtaking, luxurious world she could reach – if she becomes the perfect dancer.

 

Lincoln Center at Night © by Threat to Democracy on Flickr

Lincoln Center at Night © by Threat to Democracy on Flickr

 

Find out more about New York  with our Insider's Guide.

 

The Social Network: Los Angeles

The Social Network © Exchange LA

The Social Network © Exchange LA

 

Los Angeles’ old Pacific Stock Exchange appeared in The Social Network, but not in the way many would expect. The building has been transformed into the nightclub Exchange LA – and was used as the setting for the game-changing discussions between Justin Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg. Given the building’s history it was a fitting setting for the film based on the dramatic rise of Facebook.

For more places to party the night away in L.A, check out our Barfly's Guide.

 

The Academy Awards are announced on the 27th February. For flights to any of these locations, log on to www.virginatlantic.com Thanks to Flickr photographers julesjulesjules m, Florin Draghici, Lancashire County Council and Threat to Democracy, and to Daniel Lieninger on Flickr for the great header shot.

Where's your favourite film location? Let us know in the comments below


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Rob Gordon