Görlitz, eastern Germany (S Wenzel)

Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game and more

The Academy Awards take place in Los Angeles this Sunday, with several strong contenders for the Best Picture Oscar. Why not pay a visit to the filming locations of some of this year’s nominated movies, from a tiny German town to the spectacular West Coast of the US.

Broadway, New York

This dark comedy-drama, starring Michael Keaton as a washed-up super hero actor, was shot in New York’s legendary Broadway theatre district, primarily in the St James Theatre (001 212 239 6200; jujamcyn.com). Scenes take place on stage, in dressing rooms, in corridors and on a roof terrace, as well as in nearby streets and a bar. From 23 March the theatre will be showing a new musical, Something Rotten (tickets $16-$142/£11-£95), but until then there are plenty of options for exploring the area. Viator (020 3478 5933; viator.com) offers a two-hour Broadway History and Culture guided walking tour for £23.

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Görlitz, Germany

Wes Anderson’s film in fact has nothing to do with Budapest, being set in the fictional country of Zubrowka and shot largely in the German town of Görlitz, on the border with Poland. The town, which has also been a filming location for movies such as Inglourious Basterds, The Reader and The Monuments Men, was left undamaged by the Second World War. The town is bursting with history, from 13th-century walls to the 15th-century Kaisertrutz, a tower which once marked the entrance to the city and is now a museum. The interior shots of The Grand Budapest Hotel were filmed in Görlitzer Warenhaus, an abandoned Art Nouveau department store.

The Imitation Game
Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire

This Second World War thriller sees Benedict Cumberbatch playing British code-breaker Alan Turing, who helped crack the Enigma code. Scenes were shot in several UK locations, but it was Bletchley Park (01908 640 404; bletchleypark.org.uk; £16.75) that played the biggest part. This Buckinghamshire mansion was used as code-breaking HQ (officially named Station X), and today it’s open to the public. You can visit the blocks and huts where cyphers were cracked and, until 1 November, visit The Imitation Game: The Exhibition, which features film costumes and props as well as a German Enigma machine.


This political picture is based on a series of marches through Alabama in 1965, led by activists including Martin Luther King Jr. Starting in the town of Selma and ending in the state capital of Montgomery, the marches led to a change to the voting rights of African Americans. For an introduction to the story behind the film, start at the Selma Interpretive Center (001 334 872 0509; nps.gov/semo; free) and follow up with a trip to the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute (001 334 418 0800; nvrmi.com; $6.50/£4), which sits at the foot of Edmund Pettus Bridge, the location of the "Bloody Sunday" clash between protesters and police.

Pacific Crest Trail, West Coast USA

It may not be a Best Picture nominee, but Wild is up for two awards: Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon) and Best Supporting Actress (Laura Dern). Plus it has perhaps the most spectacular location of all the nominated films. Based on a true story, it follows Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed, who hiked more than 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail, from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to the Washington State border. The Pacific Crest Trail Association (pcta.org) is full of information on the 2,650-mile trail, which stretches all the way along the West Coast of the US, from Mexico to Canada – with a dedicated Wild section of the website.