The ballots are signed, sealed and delivered, the rehearsals are underway and the statues are polished in preparation for the 87th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night.
This year’s race is closer than ever with innovative frontrunners like the high concept dark comedy Birdman and the epic Boyhood, shot over a 12-year period. However, there is little doubt that Julianne Moore will take home the statue for her award-winning performance as a woman coping with Alzheimer’s in Still Alice.
Many of the scenes in the critically acclaimed film were shot right here on Long Island. In fact, LI served as the location for many Oscar winning films. With the scenic beaches and the blend of urban and suburban life, the Island is a cinematographer’s dream.
Here are 13 films shot on the Island that took home Oscar gold:
This movie may be Woody Allen’s greatest achievement to date. He wrote, starred in and directed the romantic comedy that won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Diane Keaton) and Best Original Screenplay in 1978. Allen’s character, Alvy, is a predecessor to comedians like Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, a neurotic who cannot control the urge to point out the absurdities of daily life. Many scenes were filmed on the South Shore and in the Hamptons. This includes the light-hearted scene in the beach house when Alvy and Annie attempt to cook a lobster despite their initial squeamishness.
Last year’s Blue Jasmine proved Woody Allen could still make a great film, even amid renewed allegations of child molestation. Cate Blanchett shines as a narcissist on the verge of a breakdown following a dark personal trauma. Blanchett won Best Actress for her performance while Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Woody Allen for Best Original Screenplay. A handful of scenes were filmed in Quogue. The beautiful location served as the location for Jasmine’s beach house during flashback sequences.
Born on the Fourth of July
Tom Cruise and Oliver Stone both had a big year in 1990. Cruise, at the prime of his career, received his first Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the paralyzed veteran Ron Kovic and Stone received won Best Director. The biopic depicted Kovic’s personal journey to become an anti-war and pro-human rights advocate. The film accurately portrays Kovic growing up in the town of Massapequa. Although the majority of the film was shot in Texas, a couple of scenes were filmed in the real-life Massapequa. In the wrestling scene, Kovic dons a uniform with Massapequa written in bright, yellow lettering.
This is a masterpiece forever praised by critics and film students alike. It’s a tale of greed, power and the press that is a blueprint for inspired filmmaking and aesthetic. The film was nominated for nine Oscars in 1942, but ended up only winning Best Original Screenplay. Oheka Castle in Huntington was used in exterior shots to portray Kane’s infamous estate, Xanadu.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
What if you could completely erase your memories of someone? Michael Gondry’s cerebral cult drama makes this idea a reality. Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet respectively star as Joel and Clementine, a couple whose volatile relationship leads them down a road of forgetting and struggling to remember. Charlie Kauffman won Best Original Screenplay in 2005, beating out heavyweights like Hotel Rwanda and The Aviator. The film takes place on Long Island, so naturally it was the ideal shooting location. Many LI landmarks pop up throughout, such as the Rockville Centre train station, Montauk train station, a Montauk diner and The Montauk House in Wainscott.
Francis Ford Coppola’s classic 1972 film introduced the world to the Corleone family. Since its release, it is considered by many to be the greatest film in the American gangster genre. The film took home Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Marlon Brando) and Best Adapted Screenplay. The death of Sonny Corleone was filmed in Garden City. The abandoned tollbooths were part of Mitchell Field, which is now part of Nassau Community College. LI was also the set of the film’s most infamous scene—Jack Woltz discovering a decapitated horse head in his bed. Additional scenes were shot at Sands Points Reserve.
Martin Scorsese is responsible for gritty masterpieces such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, but Goodfellas may be his most iconic work. Joe Pesci won the Oscar in 1991 for his performance as Tommy DeVito, based on the real-life Thomas Anthony “Two-Gun Tommy” DeSimone. The vacation scenes were filmed at the Catalina Beach Club in Atlantic Beach. The film also uses aerial shots of Valley Stream and Oyster Bay. Lawrence is used for a few scenes, such as Henry Hill being followed by the helicopter and Karen Hill’s parent’s home.
The Great Gatsby
Baz Lurman’s ambitious adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s timeless novel received mixed reviews when it debuted in the summer of 2013. While some critics enjoyed the contemporary soundtrack and the eccentric narrative, others found it to be over stylized and over stimulated. But no one could deny that the film looked beautiful on screen. The Academy honored the film with two Oscars, one for Production Design and another for Costume Design. The film utilized many helicopter shots of Long Island, capturing the essence of the extravagant North Shore manors Fitzgerald described in the novel.
The Island never fails to inspire Woody Allen—popping up on our list for the third time on this list. In his 1995 comedy, Mira Sorvino stole the screen as prostitute Linda Ash, birth mother of Woody Allen’s adopted son. Despite Allen’s overused plot device—him as a tortured genius coping with an unintelligible woman—Sorvino made the film worth watching and in turn earned her an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. Scenes were filmed in Belmont Park in Nassau County and Quogue in Suffolk.
Mondays at Racine
A small hair salon in the hamlet of Islip became the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary short in 2013. Mondays at Racine followed two bold sisters who opened their salon every third Monday of the month to women diagnosed with cancer. The salon offers them beauty therapy—wig styling and makeovers. The documentary captures the stories of many brave and unique women chatting away and facing their disease head on. While the majority of the film takes place in the Islip salon, there are also exterior shots of Montauk Highway.
When Pollock premiered in 2000, it was little more than an indie sleeper, only bringing in a mere $44,224 on its opening weekend. However, come award season, more and more people began recognizing the film about the famous artist’s life. Ed Harris, who played Pollock, was nominated for Best Actor and Marcia Gay Harden won Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Pollock and his wife, American painter Lee Krasner, moved to the Springs area of East Hampton in 1945. Filmmakers were able to shoot scenes inside the Pollock-Krasner House in addition to exteriors of Springs and East Hampton.
“Once upon a time on the North Shore of Long Island, some 30 miles from New York, there lived a small girl on a large estate,” Sabrina Fairchild narrates in the opening lines of this 1954 film. In a classic rags-to-riches tale, Audrey Hepburn stars as a young woman with two potential suitors—Humphrey Bogart and William Holden. The film was nominated for six Oscars, including a Best Actress nod for Audrey Hepburn, but it only won for Costume Design. Many “Gold Coast” estates were utilized to capture the true luxury of the era and the region. This included the Hempstead House, the Guggenheim Estate at Sands Point Preserve, Pratt Estate and Salutations in Glen Cove. Other scenes feature the Long Island Sound and Glen Cove train station.
Splendor in the Grass
LI became Kansas in this 1961 classic starring Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood. The story of forbidden love received an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, penned by American playwright William Inge. Scenes were filmed on almost all 200 acres within Brookhaven hamlet. Beaver Dam road in particular was chosen for its resemblance to Kansas. Brookhaven supervisor August Strout Jr. even gave Natalie Wood a symbolic key to the town following the shoot.