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And the Oscar Goes To: New York City

by Tracy Kaler
Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Annie Hall--by Queenie and the Dew via Flickr
After watching the Oscars last night, I couldn't help but recall a few of the winning films made right here in our own backyard. Let's face it-- there's no more photogenic place to make movies than in New York City. With its visual appeal, stunning architecture and everyday characters filling street scenes, this city that never sleeps is an optimal filming destination.
Often, NYC becomes more than a backdrop in film, but rather a main character -- one that unfortunately has yet to be nominated for an Oscar or any film award, yet remains consistent in its level of performance with no shortage of devotees.

I rounded up a selection of all-time favorite nominees and winners set in our great city. These will definitely take you back in time! You might find yourself renting some on Netflix if you haven't seen them, or watching one of these classics for the umpteenth time.

A scene from West Side Story --credit
The 1961 musical West Side Story won 10 Oscars including Best Picture.  A modern-day Romeo and Juliet with music by Leonard Bernstein, some of the iconic scenes were filmed in the spot where Fordman University is located on West 68th Street at Lincoln Center.
Fordham at Lincoln Center in 2012--by fordham alumni via Flickr
Another Best Picture winner was the romantic comedy,  Annie Hall in 1977. The trials and tribulations of Annie and Alvy's dysfunctional relationship is the basis for the plot of the film. The movie took home the Academy Award for Best Picture and three other awards including Allen for Best Director. Annie Hall's apartment is at 68th and Madison Avenue. Other filming locations included Pier 11 on the East River and 63rd and Columbus on the West Side.

Manhattan remains one of the most popular and well-loved New York films. Written and directed by Woody Allen and released in 1979, the opening sets the tone for the movie with clips of various streets and landmarks throughout Manhattan as well as the iconic skyline, set to Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. Though the film was nominated for several Oscars, sadly the awards passed over Manhattan that year.

The opening scene took place at the now defunct Elaine's, which was on the Upper East Side at the corner of 88th and 2nd Avenue, and the most memorable locale was the Queensboro Bridge with Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me" playing in the background.
Elaine's on the Upper East Side--credit
With ten Oscar nominations, the only winner was Jessica Lange in the 1982 production of Tootsie, also starring Dustin Hoffman. With a reputation for being difficult to work with,  Michael Dorsey is forced to dress as a woman to get a job as an actor in NYC. While in drag, he becomes close friends with Lange's character, Julie Nichols. Michael's alter ego, Dorothy Michaels, has to contend with his romantic feelings for Julie and his continued farce portraying a woman. 

Locations include Michael's apartment at 18th Street and 5th Avenue as well as the outside of the famous Sherry Netherland building at 59th and 5th.
The Sherry Netherland--by hisgett via Flickr
Nominated for seven Academy Awards, the 1997 picture As Good As It Gets is a memorable romantic comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. Both won Best Actor and Actress in a leading role respectively despite the mixed reviews from critics. 
31-33 West 12th Street--credit
Nicholson plays Melvin Udall, a novelist with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Hunt plays Carol Connelly, a waitress, single mother, and his love interest. Melvin's apartment building was located at 31-33 West 12th Street in the Village.

Feeling a bit nostalgic after this post? Check out this scene with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in Manhattan.

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