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January 23, 2009

Travel and the Oscars

San Francisco (as portrayed in Milk), Tropic Thunder's Vietnam--actually Hawaii--and Barcelona as filmed by Woody Allen in Vicky Cristina Barcelona are all up for this year's golden trophies.

by Beata Loyfman

Forget about the new president, the skyrocketing unemployment, or even George Clooney's latest acting turn. The real news this week is the announcement of the Academy Award nominations! And why do we care? Because this is one of the most travel-centric collections of films the Oscars have ever seen.

Here are a few examples:
*For those who haven't seen all the nominated films, we apologize for any spoilers*

* The crux of Frost/Nixon is its setting. If Dick Nixon's henchmen hadn't rummaged around the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., in 1972, shining flashlights all over the place and destroying stuff, none of this could have been possible. Ahh, memories.
* Harvey Milk became a national symbol of gay equality and jump-started the movement when he successfully campaigned out of his camera store in the Castro district for a spot on San Francisco's Board of Supervisors. Today, San Fran is one of the country's most liberal cities, and surly Sean Penn has another shot at the podium.
* Penelope Cruz deserves four out of the five Supporting Actress nominations for her turn as the volatile but lovable nutbag in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Marisa Tomei can have the fifth nom -- we've got a soft spot for her "always a bridesmaid" movie career).
* Suburban Connecticut turns into the sixth circle of hell for the idealistic couple at the center of Revolutionary Road. Its perfect hedges, white picket fences, and Stepford-esque vibe stifles Kate and Leo's bohemian dreams. Heavy.   
* Mumbai unfolds through the doe eyes of Slumdog Millionaire's titular orphan vying for the top spot on Indian Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Just don't expect the locals to break into impromptu Bollywood dance numbers when you visit.
* The Vietnamese jungle is crucial to just about every hilarious plot turn in Tropic Thunder--the film that made us believe in the magic of Tom Cruise all over again (especially that scene where he dances the lawn mower while covered in layers of fat, latex, hair, and moisture). Top that, anti-aging Brad!

Have you ever watched a movie that made you want to travel to its locales (or stay the heck outta town)? Tell us about it. 

Further reading:
* Woody Allen's Barcelona
* Boldface: Celebrity travels


The Blue Lagoon made me want to go to Fiji...someday.

I'm totally back on the Tom Cruise bandwagon as well!!!! That performance was out of left field and stole the show, I loved it!

Good thing you can go to Fiji, as well as other islands in the Pacific, for a lot less these days. Rates at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa on Yanuca Island start at $220 per night this winter. Nope, not a typo.
-- Beata Loyfman

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