With Oscars night this Sunday, New York City monthly thought it appropriate to remind movie fans of some previous Oscar-winning Best Picture films that were set (either entirely or for many scenes) right here in The City That Never Sleeps. Here are a few of our favorites…
An American satirical black-comedy drama starring Michael Keaton, Birdman is the story of a faded Hollywood actor best known for playing the superhero “Birdman”, as he struggles to mount a Broadway adaptation of a short story by Raymond Carver. This film is so “New York” that a restored theater-district cocktail lounge featured in the movie, the Rum House, offered a special “Birdman” cocktail on the night of the awards show.
Annie Hall (1977)
This romantic comedy directed by and starring Woody Allen along with Diane Keaton has NYC written all over it. The idea was actually developed as Woody Allen walked around NYC with his co-writer. Set in the city, the plot revolves around Woody Allen’s character, Max, trying to figure out why his relationship with Annie (Keaton) failed.
The Godfather (1972)
Rather than making an offer you can’t refuse, we’ll make a declaration you can’t deny: The Godfather is one of the greatest films of all time and it’s roots are firmly planted in New York City circa 1950. With Marlon Brando masterfully portraying Don Vito Corleone, mafia boss of the Corleone family, the film concentrates on the transformation of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) from reluctant family outsider to head of the family – one of five area families – and delves into interesting family dynamics throughout.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Convinced of his irresistible appeal to women, Texas dishwasher Joe Buck (Jon Voight) quits his job and heads for New York City, thinking he’ll latch on to some rich dowager. New York, however, is not as hospitable as he imagined, and Joe soon finds himself living in an abandoned building with a Dickensian layabout named Enrico “Ratso” Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman). The two form a rough alliance, and together they kick-start Joe’s hustling career just as Ratso’s health begins to deteriorate.
West Side Story (1961)
Winner of 10 Oscars, including Best Picture, West Side Story is a classic American romantic musical drama in which a modern day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York City street gangs. On the harsh streets of the upper west side, two gangs battle for control of the turf. The situation becomes complicated when a gang members falls in love with a rival’s sister.
The 88th Oscars air at 7pm EST on ABC