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Real places that inspired scenes in Oscar-nominated films

  • Beth J. Harpaz

    Associated Press

New York, United States | Wed, January 25, 2017 | 04:08 pm
Real places that inspired scenes in Oscar-nominated films This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows, from left, Katherine Waterston, Eddie Redmayne, Alison Sudol and Dan Folger in a scene from "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them." (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP/Jaap Buitendijk)

A diner in Miami, a house in Pittsburgh and a pier in Los Angeles: All of them are real places where Oscar-nominated movies were filmed.

Part of "Moonlight" was shot in Jimmy's Eastside Diner in Miami. Scenic spots around Los Angeles featured in "La La Land" included the Hermosa Beach Pier. And in Pittsburgh, "Fences" was filmed in a house that perfectly evokes playwright "August Wilson's world," according to his widow.

Other movies with connections to real places include "Manchester by the Sea," filmed in coastal towns near Boston, and "Hidden Figures," about African-American women who worked for NASA in Virginia, where several attractions may be of interest to fans.

Here are some details.


This musical love letter to Los Angeles includes shots of many recognizable destinations around the city. Among them: Griffith Observatory, the Hermosa Beach Pier and nearby Lighthouse Cafe, the Hollywood Walk of Fame mural, Angels Flight Railway, Grand Central Market and the Smoke House restaurant. There's even a scene staged amid traffic on a freeway overpass.

In this Jan. 17, 2017, file photo, visitors walking past Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles. Fans of movies nominated for Oscars this year will be pleased to know that they can visit many real places in homage to their favorite films, from a diner in Miami where part of "Moonlight" was shot to a pier in Los Angeles used in "La La Land" and a house in Pittsburgh used in "Fences."(AP/Richard Vogel)


Much of this story of a young black man coming of age was set and shot in and around Miami's Liberty Square housing project. One of the most tender scenes depicts the protagonist as a child being taught to swim by a drug dealer who serves as a father figure. That scene was shot on Virginia Key beach, a black-only beach during the segregation era on the Rickenbacker Causeway that connects mainland Miami to Key Biscayne.

"Moonlight" is structured in three parts. The final segment centers on a reunion shot in a real restaurant, Jimmy's Eastside Diner, where fans can grab breakfast or lunch.

In this Jan. 12, 2017 photo, Iris Lynch waits on a table at Jimmy's Eastside Diner, which was featured in the film "Moonlight," in Miami.(AP/Lynne Sladky)


"Fences," a movie adapted from the August Wilson play, was set and shot in Wilson's hometown, Pittsburgh. Many of the scenes were filmed in a small brick house at 809 Anaheim St. Wilson's widow, Constanza Romero, visited the house, escorted by the film's star and director, Denzel Washington, and told The Associated Press that she felt like she was "inside August Wilson's world ... It was just such a feeling that August's words had become three-dimensional." Wilson's actual childhood home, is about 2 miles away at 1727 Bedford Ave., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Fans will also want to visit the August Wilson Center, a multi-use performing arts center in Pittsburgh with a theater, art galleries and more. An exhibit with video interviews, costumes and props from the movie runs Jan. 28-March 10. The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation publishes a guidebook called "August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays" and various walking tours are available of the city's historically African-American Hill District.

This Jan. 13, 2017 photo shows an advertisement painted on the side of a garage in the Hill District of Pittsburgh that was used in the filming of "Fences," a film directed by and starring Denzel Washington in the adaptation of a Pulitzer Price winning play by Pittsburgh born playwright August Wilson.(AP/Gene J. Puskar)


This movie tells the story of African-American women who worked at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, in the early 1960s. Their work helped put John Glenn into orbit. The movie was mostly filmed in Atlanta, but Hampton offers several attractions worth visiting.

A new exhibit called "When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA's Human Computers" just opened at the Hampton History Museum. Fans can also learn more about the work done at Langley at the Virginia Air & Space Center, which is hosting a talk by Margot Lee Shetterly, author of the book "Hidden Figures," on March 7 at 7:30 p.m. EST. A bench dedicated to one of the women featured in the movie, Katherine Johnson, is located directly across from the Air & Space Center in Carousel Park.

(Read also: Tourists flock to Korean drama ‘Goblin’ filming sites)


The movie was filmed in parts of Cape Ann and the North Shore of Massachusetts. Gloucester served as the backdrop for a number of scenes, including the pivotal tear-jerking scene between Michelle Williams and Casey Affleck. Central Street in downtown Manchester was also in the film, and cemetery scenes were filmed in the Rosedale cemetery. Local spots like the Willow Rest on Holly Street in Gloucester and Fibber McGee's in Beverly also figure in the movie locations.


This movie is set in West Texas but was filmed in New Mexico. Bank robbery scenes were shot in Clovis and Portales, and Quay County's Caprock Escarpment also makes an appearance along with spots in Moriarty and Tucumcari.

This Jan. 13, 2017 photo shows the Route 66 Casino outside of Albuquerque, N.M., along the historic Route 66. The casino and hotel was among the locations featured in "Hell or High Water."(AP/Russell Contreras)

The Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque was among the locations.


This movie about a mother and her teenage son set in 1979 included many locations in the Santa Barbara, California area. Among them: East Beach, West Beach, Miramar Beach and Ganna Walska Lotusland garden and historic estate in Montecito. An area near Gaviota Pier at Gaviota State Park, with a scene driving through the Gaviota Tunnel on Highway 101, was also included.

Skateboarding scenes were shot on Ashley Road at East Mountain Drive and San Leandro Lane near Crane School in Montecito.


This magical romp through 1920s New York City shows many famous landmarks, including the Woolworth Building and the Statue of Liberty. But many of the places shown in the film look very different today, including Times Square, the Central Park Zoo and the Lower East Side.


AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy contributed to this report.