Life Imitates Art: Six Oscar-Winning Movies That Inspire Great Vacations

The desire to travel can be inspired by many things – a childhood dream, a personal bucket list, or an Oscar-winning Hollywood movie.

Life imitates art often, especially when it comes to travel. While great movies can steer your imagination into exotic or extravagant locations around the globe, Oscar-winning cinema has been known to inspire many personal vacations and exciting journeys. Check out these worthy examples:

“Out of Africa” – 1986 (Best Picture; Best Cinematography; and awards in several other categories)

Centering on the story of a 20th Century love affair between a Danish baroness and a big-game hunter, Out of Africa prominently features parts of Africa and its wonderful landscapes. The picturesque cinematography in this film spurred a widespread yearning to explore and experience this continent. The viewers see the surroundings and the beautiful native creatures through the eyes of the main character and falls in love with Africa, as the main character does. After seeing this movie, how could you not want to experience all of this beauty up close?

In the name of full disclosure, parts of the film were also shot in the United Kingdom. And there’s no doubt that those scenes may have inspired travels to the United Kingdom as well.

“Lost in Translation” – 2004 (Best Original Screenplay)

The sights and sounds of Tokyo, Japan is an appealing backdrop for this story of a two travelers from different backgrounds who find themselves lonely in an exciting city filled with people. But their loneliness stems from something other than their surroundings and when the travelers meet, and they form a bond. Even with loneliness being at the heart of this movie, viewers are still drawn to this magnificent city. There are even some scenes that show how enjoyable and fascinating it can be to immerse oneself into a country and culture unlike one’s own.

“Sideways” – 2004 (Best Adapted Screenplay)

Movie-watchers took a terrific road trip through California’s famous wine country – known for its award-winning wineries, fabulous restaurants, and great golf courses – with this comedy/drama romance flick’s main characters: two unusual, middle-aged men (one is a frustrated writer, the other is an actor whose success has been limited to bit roles and commercial voice-overs).

Aside from the hilarious hijinks these two guys get into, viewers easily got caught up in the attractive landscape, plentiful sunshine and wine, and wonderful food being featured. It’s not easy to watch Sideways without want to hop into a car, travel along the California coast and wander the wine country, making impromptu stops along the way.

The natural scenery was a treat for the eyes that compelled viewers to see – and taste, touch, smell, and hear – for themselves how much of a treat wine country in California really can be.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona – 2008 (Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Penelope Cruz)

Set in eye-catching Barcelona, Spain, Vicky Cristina Barcelona tells a tale of two gal pals on a vacation in this exciting Spanish city. Each of the woman falls in love with the same man, a painter, while they are in Barcelona. Complicating things is the painter’s ex-wife.

The backdrop for this intertwined story, from director Woody Allen, include Barcelona Harbor, the Spanish countryside, Oviedo, and the Santa Maria del Mar Church. Gorgeous visuals! While watching the story unfold, movie-viewers must be wondering whether they can afford a flight to beautiful Barcelona … and how soon!

Around the World in 80 Days – 1956 (Best Picture, and Best Cinematography [Color], plus several other Academy Awards)

This movie was meant to make viewers long for travel. It’s based on a Jules Verne novel with the same name. The plot centers on an English man who makes a bet that he can travel the world in 80 days. Main character Phineas Fogg starts off by taking a train to Paris, then travels in a hot air balloon, and eventually finds other modes of travel. He makes stops in spots such as India, Japan, San Francisco and Spain.

This flick feeds a travelers desire to get on the move and experience various places and cultures. But most modern-day adventure-seekers would probably opt out of extensive travel by hot air balloon. Planes, trains, boats, and automobiles might be the best way to reach these destinations. Still, what a way to scratch that itch to travel!

La La Land! – 2017 (Best Actress in a Leading Role, Emma Stone; Best Cinematography; and awards in several other categories)

This musical movie’s plot focuses on an aspiring actress and a jazz musician pursuing their dream careers in Los Angeles, California. They meet and eventually fall in love. The story unfolds amid some of Los Angeles’ most attractive spots, including Griffith Park, Griffith Observatory, Grand Central Market, and The Lighthouse Café near the Hermosa Pier.

This cinematic treat exudes a level of chic and coolness amid the sun-and-fun that most of us ascribe to California. Following characters through their stories and through the city entices the movie-viewers to head to Los Angeles to experience what the so-called “City of Angels” has to offer – without the woes of a struggling artist.

Other Oscar-winning movies that have inspired travel include: Casablanca, story set in Morocco but filmed elsewhere (1943 in USA won Oscars in 1944); An American in Paris (1951); and Annie Hall, set and filmed in New York City (1978)

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