No CGI here: Real-life destinations from Oscar 2016-nominated films

  • AFP
  • Updated: Feb 29, 2016 10:37 IST
Take a look at some of the destinations that have either played body double to faraway locations, or reminded viewers of the planet’s natural wonders. (AFP and Tumblr)

On Monday morning, when the Oscars for the best films are announced, the spotlight will shine brightly on more than just filmmakers and actors.

For some of this year’s Oscar-nominated films, the real-life settings play just as important a supporting role, be it the red-tinged desert landscape of Jordan to the mystical woodlands of England.

Take a look at some of the destinations that have either played body double to faraway locations, or reminded viewers of the planet’s natural wonders.

See: Let’s travel the world with these amazing zombie movies

England and Ireland, Star Wars, nominated for film editing

Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map.

Puzzlewood is a unique and enchanting place located in the beautiful and historic Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England. (Tumblr)

To set up a key battle scene between Rey and Kylo Ren, filmmakers chose the ancient woodlands of Puzzlewood in England to portray an otherworldly location. The moss-covered forest floor, deep-cut canyons, twisting walkways and knotted trees are believed to have been the inspiration for another epic fantasy tale: Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings. Ireland also gets a turn in the spotlight at the end of the film. Rising dramatically out of the Atlantic Ocean, the craggy rocks of Skellig Michael feature in the final scene as the hideaway for a key Star Wars character. With a history that dates back to the 6th century, the site was once home to monks who made the remote island their sanctuary.

Star Wars The Force Awakens review

Canada and Argentina, The Revenant, Best film

While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) sustains injuries from a brutal bear attack. When his hunting team leaves him for dead, Glass must utilize his survival skills to find a way back home to his beloved family. (Tumblr)

Bow Valley is a valley located along the upper Bow River in Alberta, Canada. (AFP)

Movie director Alejandro G. Inarritu’s insistence that the film be shot entirely in natural light with minimal CGI effects meant finding some of the wildest, most frigid and impressive landscapes on the planet to convey the daunting forces of nature, and an unrepentant winter. Enter the remote Canadian backwoods of Alberta and British Columbia and areas of Argentina. Leonardo DiCaprio has repeatedly described shoots as some of the toughest conditions he’s ever worked in, with temperatures dipping to -30C. Some of the sites include Bow Valley, the Badlands both in Alberta; Squamish Valley in British Columbia; and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

The Revenant review

Wadi Rum, Jordan, The Martian, nominated for best film

In the film, when astronauts blast off from the planet Mars, they leave behind Mark Watney (Matt Damon), presumed dead after a fierce storm. With only a meager amount of supplies, the stranded visitor must utilize his wits and spirit to find a way to survive on the hostile planet. (Tumblr)

Wadi Rum also known as The Valley of the Moon is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southern Jordan 60 km to the east of Aqaba; it is the largest wadi in Jordan. (AFP)

Also known as the Valley of the Moon for its otherworldly landscape, the desert sands of southern Jordan doubled as the Red Planet for Matt Damon’s “The Martian.” The UNESCO World Heritage Site features narrow gorges, arches, towering cliffs, ramps, caverns and ancient and rock carvings that testify to 12,000 years of human occupation. Compared to other desert landscapes, its red-tinged sand makes Wadi Rum a convincing stand-in for Mars. The region has also been used to portray Mars in “Red Planet” and “The Last Days on Mars.” The area is popular among tourists for rock climbing, trekking, hiking, camel and horse safaris.

The Martian review

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, nominated for best film

In the film, an Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) in 1950s New York falls for a tough Italian plumber (Emory Cohen), but faces temptation from another man (Domhnall Gleeson) when she returns to her homeland for a visit. (Twitter)

Brooklyn, one of New York City’s 5 boroughs, sits on the western end of Long Island. The iconic Brooklyn Bridge, built in 1883, connects it to Manhattan. (Tumblr)

The borough of Brooklyn plays a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated film about a young immigrant who leaves her native Ireland for the promise of a better life in America. Though the tale is fictitious, the premise is based on history: During the 1950s, 50,000 Irish immigrants moved to the US following the devastating potato famine. Today, the borough is less known for its Irish settlers and better known for being home to an entirely different community: hipsters. To experience a microcosmic version of New York, head to Williamsburg, the borough’s epicenter for creativity and culture.

Watch our live coverage of Oscars 2016 on Monday, here.

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