January 28, 2015 13:01 ET Ushers in Awards Season

Takes a Look Back at the Year in Cinema With Top 10 Oscar-Worthy Filming Locations

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Jan 28, 2015) - With the Academy Awards, the pinnacle of awards season, just weeks away,, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, takes a look back at the year in cinema by shining a spotlight on where in the world the movies have taken us. The films in our Top 10 Oscar-Worthy Filming Locations of the Year list take you from Iceland to New Zealand, France to South Africa and back home to America with many exceptional places in between. While not all these movies are nominated for awards, the destinations where they were filmed are worthy of top honors, according to our travel experts.

Here are five winning film settings from Oscar-nominated movies to make the cut:

  • New Zealand, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" - In the latest film adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien's bestselling novel, "The Hobbit," famous fictional land "Middle Earth" is actually New Zealand. The final movie in "The Hobbit" trilogy concludes the adventure of Bilbo Baggins and his cohort. It's no surprise that New Zealand director/producer Peter Jackson chose to shoot the films in his home country. The climate, greenery and mountainous peaks of the island country match up with Tolkien's vivid imagery. In honor of the blockbuster movie, Air New Zealand even produced airline safety videos (which were also filmed down under) starring cast members of "The Hobbit."
  • Iceland, "Interstellar" - In one of the most talked about films of the past year, a group of astronauts, played by A-list actors including Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, travel through a wormhole in an attempt to save humanity. Much of the sci-fi thriller was actually filmed in Iceland, which provided director Christopher Nolan with frozen landscapes ready to be cast as far away worlds. The country's Svínafellsjökull glacier is particularly featured, serving as the snow-capped backdrop for McConaughey in many of the film's posters. This isn't the first time that Iceland has been used for its cinematic allure. Popular HBO show "Game of Thrones," as well as the 2014 biblical drama "Noah," were both filmed in the Nordic island nation.
  • New York City, United States, "Begin Again" - There's no other city in the world quite like New York City, which is why the Big Apple made the perfect backdrop for heartfelt romantic comedy "Begin Again." Like director John Carney's previous lyrical film "Once," the setting of "Begin Again" plays a significant role in its plot. Keira Knightley stars as Gretta, the soft-spoken songwriter who heads to the city with her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) after he lands a record deal. With the help of a down-on-his-luck record executive (Mark Ruffalo), Gretta uses the city as her muse to record her own music, a process that enables her to heal from her and Dave's eventual breakup. The movie captures the essence of Manhattan, ranging from the bright lights of Times Square to the charm of the Lower East Side.
  • Sussex, England, "Maleficent" - Disney's fantasy film, which is based on the beloved fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty," was shot in England's countryside. In the blockbuster, Angelina Jolie stars as the title character, a vengeful fairy who puts a curse on a king's infant daughter. The rural filming location offered directors sweeping landscapes, verdant trees and natural wildlife, combining to form the movie's mystical setting. Specifically, many of the movie's scenes were filmed in Sussex's Petworth Park, a 700-acre area with rolling hills and lavish lakes, ideal for the backdrop of Maleficent's forest kingdom.
  • Pacific Crest Trail, United States, "Wild" - Based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir, "Wild," starring and produced by Reese Witherspoon, depicts a young woman's journey to find herself on a 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in Western North America. After a downward spiral following her mother's death and her own divorce, Strayed seeks clarity throughout the strenuous, but breathtaking, hike from California's Mojave Desert up through Washington State. The majority of the movie's scenes were filmed in Oregon, which provided the director with mountainous views, foliage and serene sunsets ideal for a dramatic comeback story.

Also making the cut are these winning destinations and their films: India, "Million Dollar Arm"; Sun City, South Africa, "Blended"; France, "Hundred Foot Journey"; Görlitz, Germany, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"; and San Francisco & Tokyo, "Big Hero 6." To read the award-worthy details on these film locations and see's complete Top 10 Oscar-Worthy Filming Locations of the Year, visit

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