Nowadays, movies do a lot more than just entertain us; they suck us into their realm, spit us out and linger within our consciousness for quite some time. Every year, audiences are taken on exciting journeys to different parts of the world. Great movies have the uncanny ability to move us.

According to the U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, outbound traffic abroad increased 5% for the first six months of 2010, when compared to the same time period in 2009. Positive growth also occurred in six of eight travel regions overseas. Americans love to travel and many will agree that when choosing a preferred destination, we often look to movies for inspiration.

This Oscar season featured an especially beautiful collection of films that were shot in unique locations all over the world. For some clues to where people will be headed in 2011, look no further than the Best Picture category for the 83rd Academy Awards.

We’re counting down the top 5 films of 2010 in the Best Picture category that inspire us to experience the locations for ourselves.

Best Motion Picture 2011 Nominees: Top 5 Places to Visit

(Tie) 5. True Grit – Santa Fe, NM. Black Swan – New York, NY. These great films feature breathtaking locations and amazing cinematography, but the downside is that their locations are too generalized. Let’s start with the western. The desert is a great place for gunfights but the film could have been shot just about anywhere. We suggest ghost town destinations to get a true feel of the American West. There are plenty located near Las Vegas, so the next time you make your way out to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, try taking a day-trip to Calico Ghost Town or Oatman Ghost Town. For a Black Swan-inspired experience, visit the fine arts culture of New York. They shot most of the film’s sequences at the Performing Arts Center’s Concert Hall at Purchase College. The Lincoln Center and Brooklyn Museum also make for a great Big Apple adventure.

4. The Social Network – Palo Alto, CA Facebook headquarters. 2010 was the year of Facebook. Its origin was wildly depicted in The Social Network. For the more tech-savy traveler, visiting Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, CA may make for an interesting day trip. Palo Alto itself is a sprawling college town hosting Stanford University, filled with beautiful historic theaters and classic architecture.

3. 127 Hours – Moab, UT. In a desolate, yet stunning-backdrop, filmmaker Danny Boyle took us on a journey deep into the heart of Utah. Portraying the part of avid hiker Aron Ralston, actor James Franco effortlessly jumps in and out of giant rock formations and even into a natural pool. The goriness of this movie really masked what made 127 Hours was really about: a great visual adventure taking us through Utah’s stunning land formations. This film didn’t have a lot of characters, and it’s one of those rare instances where the director used the location as another character. Learn the lessons of Ralston and don’t get yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place, but do enjoy the breathtaking views Moab, Utah has to offer.

2. The King’s Speech – London, England. The film’s use of historic locations helped make The King’s Speech a great visual treat for movie-goers. The Lancaster House, doubling for Buckingham Palace, is a great backdrop for the film. Visitors can find the estate to be even more mesmerizing than the actual palace, nestled between the Mall and St. James’. Because of its dark and edgy look, movie-watchers can get a glimpse into what England is all about and maybe you’ll be inspired to visit and appreciate other historic sites.

1. Inception – Paris, France. This amazingly shot, dynamic psychological thriller has spanned debates that lasted for the better part of 2010 regarding the movie’s final scene. One thing is sure, however; this movie’s look and feel is heads and shoulders above all the other nominated films in this list, fully deserving of our number one trip to take.

“It’s an action adventure that spans the globe,” said director Christopher Nolan, and span the globe he did – taking us to Tokyo, Japan; Cardington, England; Paris, France; Tangier, Morocco; and Los Angeles, California. Nolan admitted to spending a big part of his 160 million dollars budget on plane tickets.

Visit the stunningly beautiful exploding Paris scene, located just 10 minutes from La Belle Juliette. Walk through the inspiration for Nolan’s dream reality on the corner of rue Cesar Franck and rue Bouchut. See the corridors before dream reality was folded upside down by Ellen Page’s character. The film continued on to Tangier, Morocco which was made to look like Mombasa, Kenya. This exciting location featured a thrilling chase down corridors and busy intersections of the historic city. The film proceeded to Los Angeles, CA for the train sequence down the busy intersection of Spring Street in the heart of Downtown LA.

Want to visit one of these top destinations? Search for vacation resorts around the world.

So what about past Oscar winners? Here are the top 5 Oscar-winning Best Picture movies that also feature great travel destinations.

Top 5 Past Oscar Winners

5. Slumdog Millionaire – India. This film’s depiction of Mumbai is not a pleasant one. The town is filled with drug-lords, thieves and corrupt police. Amidst the chaos, our protagonist journeys through some of India’s most beautiful landscapes including the Taj Mahal, one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Considered a resurging society and a future world power, vacationers can make adventurous travel plans to enjoy some of the best sights and sounds of India.

4. Braveheart – Scotland. This movie was shot exclusively in Scotland. The Highlands around Loch Leven was the main backdrop filmmakers used for this 1995 Best Picture winner. Take a trip to this beautiful land that the great William Wallace fought so fiercely for. Take in the majestic coastline and breathtaking views Scotland has to offer and explore Europe.

3. Amadeus – Prague, Czech Republic. Relive this 1984 Best Picture award winning film in all of its splendor. This film showcases the beauty of Europe through Old Town Prague and Vienna, Austria. Kromeriz Palace and Charles Bridge can be seen in many scenes in the movie. And classical music fans will not want to miss out on guided tours where Mozart created his music.

2. The Godfather, The Godfather Part II – Savoca, Italy. One of the most iconic film franchises, experience Italy through the eyes of director Francis Ford Coppola. Take a guided tour through Savoca, which was chosen specifically by Copolla for its picturesque village view. Private one day tours based on the Best Picture award winner from 1972 and 1974, respectively, are available. Make your travel plans with a vacation company today and admire Italy’s beauty for yourself.

1. The Sound of Music – Salzburg, Austria. The hills are alive. Enough said.


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