Oscar-Worthy Film Locales—the Global Settings for This Year's Top Movies

Sunrise over Bellagio, Lake Como Engel Ching/Getty

Despite the ongoing pandemic, this year the show did go on. Film crews navigated COVID-19 protocols in locations around the globe, from the Jordanian desert (Dune) to the New Zealand mountains (The Power of the Dog) to Hiroshima's cityscape (Drive My Car). Tune in on March 27 (ABC) to see which of the following nominations win top spots at the 94th Academy Awards, hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes.

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Voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, Mirabel is determined to prove she belongs within this extraordinary family. Disney


Up for Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score and Best Song, Encanto tells the story of a family living in the Colombian mountains. Protagonist Mirabel takes viewers on a journey filled with magical realism and rich Colombian culture. The film was inspired by the town of Barichara.

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Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge in Boston, Massachusetts John Coletti/Getty

Don't Look Up

This star-studded film made major waves for its black humor and all-too-real allegories on climate change. Rather than premiering in theaters, the movie hit the small screen on Netflix. Now, it's a four-time Oscar nominee up for Best Picture, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

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Judi Dench as "Granny", Jude Hill as "Buddy" and Ciarán Hinds as "Pop" in director Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, a Focus Features release. Rob Youngson/Focus Features

Northern Ireland, England

This coming-of-age film written and directed by Kenneth Branagh details The Troubles from the perspective of 9-year-old Buddy, son of a working-class Ulster Protestant family. Shot in Northern Ireland where the conflict took place in real life, Belfast scooped up seven nominations this year, including the coveted Best Picture.

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Penélope Cruz as Janis in Parallel Mothers. Iglesias Más/Sony Pictures Classics

Parallel Mothers

Leading lady Penélope Cruz could make history as the first Spanish woman to receive an Oscar for Best Actress, if she takes the award for her role as Janis (her second Best Actress nomination). The film, set in a Madrid hospital, is also up for Best Original Score for music by composer Alberto Iglesias.

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Adam Driver stars as Maurizio Gucci, Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci and Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s House of Gucci Fabio Lovino/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.

House of Gucci

This film starring Lady Gaga is up for only one Oscar— Best Makeup and Hairstyling—much to the chagrin of Gaga fans who thought she'd take home a nomination for her portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani. Set entirely in Italy, backdrops for the crime drama include the streets of Milan, a villa in Lake Como and the Alps.

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Panos Koronis as Vasili, Dagmara Dominczyk as Rosaria in The Lost Daughter. Yannis Drakoulidis/Netflix

The Lost Daughter
Spetses, Greece

Maggie Gyllenhaal's feature directorial debut, adapted from a novel by Elena Ferrante, earned three nominations this year—Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress for Olivia Colman's performance and Best Supporting Actress, a nod to Jessie Buckley who plays the younger version of Colman's character.

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Rebecca Ferguson as Lady Jessica and Timothée Chalamet as Paul Atreides in Dune. Chia Bella James/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Jordan, Israel, Abu Dhabi and Norway

Fan favorites Zendaya and Timothée Chalamet star alongside one another in the sci-fi film directed by Denis Villeneuve. While filmed in locations all around the globe including Jordan, Israel, Abu Dhabi and Norway, the windswept deserts of Jordan and the United Arab Emirates stand in for the planet Arrakis. Dune is up for 10 awards including Best Picture.

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Guangzhou, China. Getty


Filmed in 51 locations across the country, Ascension paints a picture of modern China and growing class divides, while exploring global capitalism. Directed and produced by Jessica Kingdon, the flick is a contender for Best Documentary Feature—a title it previously won at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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Hiroshima Castle. Edgar Moskopp/Getty

Drive My Car

Based on Haruki Murakami's short story of the same name, Drive My Car premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and quickly rose to critical acclaim. While originally meant to be set in Busan, South Korea, the location was changed to Hiroshima due to the pandemic. The film—nominated for four awards—is Japan's first to be nominated for Best Picture.

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South Island, New Zealand. Getty

The Power of the Dog
New Zealand

A Western psychological thriller based on the novel by Thomas Savage, the story follows two brothers on a ranch in Montana. The movie, however, was mostly shot on the South Island—landscapes also used in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. The Power of the Dog received 12 Oscar nominations, the most of any film in 2022.