With awards season kicking off, Hollywood is preparing for the biggest event of them all, the 89th Academy Awards, taking place on Sunday, February 26th.
Films can encompass every form of life, every emotion, every situation, some truthful, some fantastically fictional. Each story centres around a character, and every character needs a place to call home. Oscar winning films portray these situations in a diverse selection of ways; from floating houses, to large grandiose mansions, well-loved family homes, to homes under the ground and everything in between. Film makers can dream up the most wonderful sets, we took a look back at some Oscar-winning homes over the years.
The Great Gatsby, 2013 (Best production design | Best costume design)
The marmite adaptation of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s novel divided audiences and critics alike, but one thing that can’t be disputed is the grandeur of Baz Luhrmann’s sets. The home of Jay Gatsby presents the ultimate party house for the Roaring Twenties, this set was actually built on soundstages for the purpose of filming but is based on the glimmering and jazz infused styling of the era found among the Long Island Sound elite, seen in the Vanderbilt and Roosevelt mansions. “No expense was spared”, tells Gatsby to Daisy, “I had these gates brought in from a castle in Normandy.”
It took 14 weeks to build, paint and decorate Gatsby’s mansion, including a grand ballroom, library, master bedroom, terrace and much more using Neo-Gothic and art-deco styles in addition to the Versailles inspired grounds.
Up, 2009 (Best animated feature | Best original score)
The house from Up may just be the most recognisable house from the last 8 years. Charming and full of colour, Carl’s house starts off life being slowly encroached on by high rise buildings, before he decides he wants to stay in his home, but he’d like it to be in Venezuela…as you do. He innovatively ties thousands of balloons to his house to make it fly, if you actually wanted to make your house fly, it would take approximately 23.5million balloons, so maybe don’t try that at home. The story of Up is both heartwarming and full of adventure, it is said to have been inspired by Edith Macefield of Seattle, and her 108 year old farmhouse that was in the way of a large scale building project. She was offered $1,000,000 for her home in 2006 but refused and stayed strong until the age of 86 where she passed away in her home, just as she wanted. Her home still stands today. The Up house has also inspired a real life home, recently sold in Salt Lake City for $400,000.
Lord of the Rings, 2001 (Winner of 4 Oscars, Nominated for 13)
The story of one hobbit and his eight companions on a journey to destroy the powerful one ring and save Middle Earth divulges into a trilogy that won countless awards, set new precedents for special effects and set designs and won the hearts of Tolkien fans worldwide. But it all started in The Shire and at the centre of it, Hobbiton and Bag End, home to the Baggins. This unique and well-known home could almost be something off of Grand Designs, and was created in the town of Matamata, New Zealand, where it still stands today as a tourist attraction for fans. To create Hobbiton, 5,000 cubic metres of vegetable and flower gardens were planted a year before filming begun to age naturally and blend in with the surroundings. Sir Ian McKellan who played Gandalf commented “Hobbiton wasn’t really a set at all, it was an open-air village with growing crops and wildlife.” The under-earth look has gone on to inspire countless hobbit homes in real life, so you could live in your very own Hobbit home.
Forrest Gump, 1994 ( Best Picture and 5 more)
The classic hit, Forrest Gump, sees the title character go on countless adventures, always returning home to Mama Gump. The Gump house in Greenbow, Alabama was built specifically for the movie, as a bit of a rushed job it sadly didn’t meet building regulations and was torn down after filming ended. It also was never in Alabama, the street scenes were in Georgia and everything else on an 8,000 acre plantation in South Carolina, even the Vietnam Scenes!
Beauty and the Beast, 1991 (Best original score)
Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for best picture when it was released in 1991 and has gone on to be adapted into a Broadway musical and spin-off sequels with a highly anticipated live action remake due for release next month. The heart of the film takes place inside the Beast’s Castle, located deep within the forest and home to magic and memorable characters. The castle has 60 rooms and architecture dating back to the baroque period; divided into the East and West Wing. The ballroom and library are probably the most memorable rooms of the house and have been recreated for the live action remake.
Ghost, 1990 (Best original screenplay and Best supporting actress)
The romantic, fantasy, thriller hit is set within New York City. The central characters renovate and move into an open plan loft apartment in SoHo, Manhattan before the worst happens. The high ceilings, large windows, wood flooring and overall modern elegance of the apartment can all be found at 102 Prince Street. The property has 3 bedrooms, a large living room, eat in kitchen and a media room and was listed for sale in 2015 for $9.5million, a hefty price tag considering the crime rate in the area, (from the film that is…) Luckily New York is one of the states where you don’t have to legally disclose if a property is haunted when you sell it.
Back to the future, 1985 (Best sound effects)
This cult classic sees Marty Mcfly travelling back to 1955 before he must then get back to the future, a challenge in itself. The original film spawned two further sequels, throughout the entire trilogy, the same suburban Californian house was used as Michael J Fox’s family home. As far as suburban homes go, the Mcfly family home is relatively unremarkable, aside from the fact that it starred in one of the biggest trilogies of all time. The Los Angeles property is identical to the film, as is the street you can find it on, the property is now home to Mary Fentriss, originally from England who isn’t such a fan of her new found fame. As such a recognisable home, Mary has not changed a thing since she owned it, making it the perfect icon of a film that looked so much to the past and the future.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1982 (Won 4 Oscars)
Spielberg’s hit family sci-fi film became an immediate Blockbuster, becoming the highest grossing movie for 11 years until it was surpassed by Jurassic Park. The story follows an ordinary family, thrown into an extraordinary situation. The ordinary house of Elliott and his family can be found in Tujunga, South California, the iconic home is still instantly recognizable today. At the time of filming, the suburb and the house itself was all brand new, the same house was actually used in 2000 for the filming of Charlie’s Angels, perhaps a nod to Drew Barrymore’s beginnings.
The Sound of Music, 1965 (Best picture and 4 more wins)
This adaptation of the Broadway musical, at its time, became the highest grossing film of all time, hugely popular with audiences worldwide. The story a spirited nun becoming the Governess of seven children of the Von Trapp gang is set within the Von Trapp mansion. You may not know that the film, and musical, are based on a real life singing family, the real Von Trapps also resided in Austria and fled their homeland during Nazi occupation for Italy, though they went by train rather than by foot. From Italy, they travelled to England and finally settled in America. The real Trapp mansion was visited by Hitler and Himmler, when post-war it was given to missionaries who prevented it from being used for the filming of the movie. Though the movie house strikes a remarkable resemblance to the original Von Trapp family home, it was mainly filmed at various Palaces and in studios.
Mary Poppins, 1964 (Best actress and 4 more wins)
This supercalifragilisticexpialidocious family hit was set in Edwardian London, 1910, and as such sees many of London’s streets and parks portrayed in the film. The Banks family house, 17 Cherry Tree Lane, is a completely fictional address, existing only in the novel and movie, so unfortunately no method of transport, not even a flying umbrella will get you there. As much as the film is set in London, it was filmed entirely on set in Burbank, California, where sets were lovingly created to portray London, including the famous town house.
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