Hollywood escapes: Real destinations from Oscar-nominated films

On Sunday night, when the Oscars for the best films are announced, the spotlight will shine brightly on more than just filmmakers and actors.

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For some of this year's Oscar-nominated films, the real-life settings play just as important a supporting role, be it the red-tinged desert landscape of Jordan to the mystical woodlands of England. Take a look at some of the destinations that have either played body double to faraway locations, or reminded viewers of the planet's natural wonders.

England and Ireland, 'Star Wars,' nominated for film editing

To set up a key battle scene between Rey and Kylo Ren, filmmakers chose the ancient woodlands of Puzzlewood in England to portray an otherworldly location. The moss-covered forest floor, deep-cut canyons, twisting walkways and knotted trees are believed to have been the inspiration for another epic fantasy tale: Middle Earth in J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Lord of The Rings.” Ireland also gets a turn in the spotlight at the end of the film. Rising dramatically out of the Atlantic Ocean, the craggy rocks of Skellig Michael feature in the final scene as the hideaway for a key Star Wars character. With a history that dates back to the 6th century, the site was once home to monks who made the remote island their sanctuary.

Canada and Argentina, 'The Revenant,' nominated for best film

Movie director Alejandro G. Inarritu's insistence that the film be shot entirely in natural light with minimal CGI effects meant finding some of the wildest, most frigid and impressive landscapes on the planet to convey the daunting forces of nature, and an unrepentant winter. Enter the remote Canadian backwoods of Alberta and British Columbia and areas of Argentina. Leonardo DiCaprio has repeatedly described shoots as some of the toughest conditions he's ever worked in, with temperatures dipping to -30C. Some of the sites include Bow Valley, the Badlands both in Alberta; Squamish Valley in British Columbia; and Tierra del Fuego in Argentina.

Wadi Rum, Jordan, 'The Martian,' nominated for best film

Also known as the Valley of the Moon for its otherworldly landscape, the desert sands of southern Jordan doubled as the Red Planet for Matt Damon's "The Martian." The UNESCO World Heritage Site features narrow gorges, arches, towering cliffs, ramps, caverns and ancient and rock carvings that testify to 12,000 years of human occupation. Compared to other desert landscapes, its red-tinged sand makes Wadi Rum a convincing stand-in for Mars. The region has also been used to portray Mars in “Red Planet” and “The Last Days on Mars.” The area is popular among tourists for rock climbing, trekking, hiking, camel and horse safaris.

Brooklyn, 'Brooklyn,' nominated for best film

The borough of Brooklyn plays a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated film about a young immigrant who leaves her native Ireland for the promise of a better life in America. Though the tale is fictitious, the premise is based on history: During the 1950s, 50,000 Irish immigrants moved to the US following the devastating potato famine. Today, the borough is less known for its Irish settlers and better known for being home to an entirely different community: hipsters. To experience a microcosmic version of New York, head to Williamsburg, the borough's epicenter for creativity and culture.


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