Travel to the filming locations and inspiration behind this year's crop of Oscar Best Picture nominees, including Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Selma.
1. "Birdman" - New York, NY
In Birdman, former action star Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) tries to revive both his acting career and his artistic integrity by staging a Broadway adaptation of the Raymond Carver short story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." It makes sense to follow him to the Great White Way, where the film is set, and also where it was shot. You won't be able to find a Carver story at the TKTS booth, but you can find a splashy page-to-stage adaptation: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on the acclaimed novel by Mark Haddon.
If you're looking to visit the theater spotted in Birdman, you'll have to head to the St. James Theatre, where Keaton, Ed Norton, and Emma Stone all tread the boards for the film. The theater is gearing up to show the Something Rotten, about a pair of brothers who set out to write the first musical in the era of Shakespeare.
2. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" - Brazil
Oh, what we wouldn't give to take a rickety funicular up a mountain to visit the Grand Budapest Hotel, but, sadly, it—and its surrounding country, the Republic of Zubrowka—are both fictional. Instead, we have to make do with tracking down its inspiration. Grand Budapest Hotel director Wes Anderson admits that the movie was inspired by the work of Stefan Zweig, a writer who lived in Austria (which bears a passing resemblance to Zubrowka). But Zweig left the country as Hitler came to power and traveled to the United Kingdom, New York, and, eventually Brazil. His Brazilian house is now a museum, Casa Stefan Zweig. There, you can see some of his writings, books, photos, and documents, in addition to artifacts from other writers and artists in exile during that time. Unfortunately, no funicular is required to get there.
3. "Boyhood" - Austin, TX
It's clear that Boyhood is a project close to director Richard Linklater's heart—it was filmed over a span of 12 years, using the same actors and showing the progression of time. So it makes sense that at least part of the movie would take place in a city that's also close to Linklater's heart: Austin, Texas. It's a city that loves film: Linklater is the artistic director and co-founder of the Austin Film Society, which hosts screenings and special events with writers, directors, and filmmakers (see their website for a complete schedule). The city is also home to several branches of the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain, where you can order a queso to be served at your seat while you watch a film (and, at a certain point in Boyhood, you're going to want two helpings of queso).
4. "Selma"-Selma, AL
Selma doesn't try to capture every detail of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo). Instead, the movie focuses on Dr. King's time in Selma, Alabama, and his fight for voting rights in 1965. There's no better place to delve deeper into the Civil Rights struggle at that time period than the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute, which chronicles the history of voting rights starting with the country's founding. There are galleries devoted to women's suffrage, Reconstruction, and the Selma-Montgomery March, among others. The museum is located right near the Edmund Pettus Bridge, where Civil Rights marchers were attacked by law enforcement on "Bloody Sunday," a pivotal moment in Selma. Both sites are along the 54-mile Civil Rights National Historic Trail that commemorates the 1965 Voting Rights March in Alabama.
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