There isn’t an actual Academy Award for best travel movie.
But there should be.
That’s because while Oscars Best Picture nominees might make us want to go to the movies, what they really make us want to do is pack a bag.
From not-so-jolly-olde England to the American South to the Middle East to a fictional hotel reminiscent of an Eastern European capital, the locations of the 2015 Oscars Best Picture nominees once again span a beautiful globe.
But which one wins our award for most suitcase-worthy?
There are pieces of Southern California thrown in and the actual filming locations in Morocco are dramatic, but director Clint Eastwood’s powerful story about U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s four tours of duty in the Iraq War mostly makes us grateful to be sitting right where we are, in a comfortable theater seat.
Get a drink at: O’Malley’s on Main in Seal Beach, California, where the bar scene in which Kyle (Bradley Cooper) meets his future wife Taya (Sienna Miller) was filmed.
O’Malley’s on Main, 140 Main St., Seal Beach, California; +1 562 430 0631
Aspirational travel rating: 0 suitcases
Whiplash is a 107-minute drama packed with heart-pounding drumming as well as intimidating verbal abuse.
Lights shine upon Andrew (Miles Teller) when fearsome but reputable conductor Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) recruits him to join the band at an elite music academy.
Visit the fierce training session: In your head. Almost the entire movie is set indoors at the fictional Shaffer Conservatory of Music in New York City, which was actually filmed in a shabby building in Los Angeles.
Feed your jazz bug at: Carnegie Hall in New York – a rare instance in which “Whiplash” used a real life location to shoot.
The JVC Jazz Festival scene – the event where the intense finale takes place – was filmed there.
Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., New York; +1 212 903 9600
Newport Jazz Festival (formerly JVC Jazz Festival), July 31- August 2, 2015; tickets from $40
Aspirational rating: 2 suitcases
“The Imitation Game”
World War II math genius Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch in this true-life historical thriller, struggled with his own secrets as he heroically cracked the Nazi Enigma code at atmospheric Bletchley Park (where some scenes were filmed), located halfway between Cambridge and Oxford.
Explore the minds of the mavericks at: Bletchley Park, the old manor house and secretive military campus – now a fascinating museum – where Turing and his team actually worked, creating incredible problem-solving machinery that went on to influence modern computing.
Bletchely Park, The Mansion, Bletchley Park, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes; +44 1908 640404
Wallow in unspoiled rural Britishness in: The Chiltern Hills where some of the scenes were shot. It’s an idyll of immaculate hamlets and traditional pubs, all surprisingly close to London.
The village of Hambleden isn’t in the film, but it’s classic Chilterns, and has appeared in many others, including “Sleepy Hollow,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “The Avengers.”
Hambleden’s historic Stag and Huntsman pub (Hambleden, Henley-on-Thames, +44 1491 571227) is a must stop.
Aspirational rating: 4 suitcases
“The Theory of Everything”
Another tour through vintage England.
Another true life story about an academic with a big brain and bigger problems.
Stephen Hawking’s ascent from impressionable graduate to coffee table astrophysicist, despite the onset of motor neurone disease and the collapse of his marriage, is set against a backdrop of ancient Cambridge University colleges, countryside and coastlines.
Think universe-expanding thoughts at: St. John’s College, Cambridge. This 16th-century temple of learning stands in for Hawking’s own Trinity College, but deserves an A+ for effort.
St. John’s College, Saint Johns Street, Cambridge; +44 1223 338600
Destroy brain cells at: The Royal Standard of England. Nowhere near Cambridge, this is another stand-in.
The pub, reputedly one of England’s oldest, was used to show a carefree young Hawking and his fellow boffins sinking foamy ales.
The Royal Standard of England, Forty Green Road, Forty Green, Beaconsfield; +44 1494 673382
Aspirational rating: 5 suitcases
Director Richard Linklater’s ode to growing up also functions as a love letter to his home state of Texas.
From the leafy neighborhoods of San Marcos to a Major League Baseball game at Minute Maid Park in Houston to a picturesque swimming hole in Pedernales Falls State Park, filming locations show off the dynamic range of America’s second largest state.
See a show at: Austin’s stalwart Continental Club, where Mason (Ellar Coltrane) and girlfriend Sheena (Zoe Graham) catch part of a performance by local band The Austin Steamers.
The Continental Club, 1315 S. Congress Ave., Austin, Texas; +1 512 441 2444
Get your boots dirty at: Big Bend National Park, where the movie peaks with the college-aged Mason on a magical hike with new friends.
Big Bend National Park; +1 432 477 2251
Aspirational travel rating: 6 suitcases
This dark comedy focuses on washed up action hero Riggan Thomson’s (Michael Keaton) attempts to make a comeback by funding a Broadway play directed by and starring himself.
But the real star of “Birdman” is a historic Broadway theater in which most of the action is set.
Fulfill Broadway fantasies at: St. James Theater. Forget that Keaton opens the movie by asking: “How did we end up here? This place is horrible. Smells like balls.”
The depictions of the inner workings of this aging Broadway icon – the perfect backdrop for Riggan’s desperation – had us longing to hit the Great White Way before the final credits rolled.
As if you weren’t going there anyway: Times Square makes a cameo in the film when Riggan, locked out of the theater, is forced to dash through the popular tourist attraction in his tightie whities.
Ponder the fickle nature of celebrity at: The Rum House. All of the film’s bar scenes were filmed in this cozy cocktail bar on 47th Street, in the heart of the theater district.
St. James Theater, 246 W. 44th St., New York; +1 212 239 6222
The Rum House, Hotel Edison, 228 W. 47th St., New York; +1 646 490 6924
Aspirational travel rating: 7 suitcases
Based on the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery March for voting rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., director Ava DuVernay added authenticity to her moving story by filming many of the scenes at the Alabama locations where actual history took place.
Walk in the footsteps of legends at: The Edmunds Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, where marchers and police met in terrible confrontations in 1965.
The film’s “Bloody Sunday” scenes were filmed at the small, arched bridge, which still stands today as part of the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail, taking in the 54-mile highway between the two cities.
Edmund Pettus Bridge, U.S. Highway 80 at the Alabama River, Selma, Alabama; +1 334 875 7241
Stand where MLK spoke at: The steps of the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, where the 1965 march culminated and “Selma” scenes were also filmed.
Alabama State Capitol, 600 Dexter Ave., Montgomery, Alabama; +1 334 242 3935
More history: The imposing Alabama State Capitol also abuts Montgomery’s Washington Avenue, one of the most symbolically volatile streets in the United States.
In addition to the Capitol, the street is home to the First White House of the Confederacy (executive residence of Confederate President Jefferson Davis at the beginning of the Civil War in 1861), the stunning Maya Lin-designed Civil Rights Memorial, headquarters of firebrand civil rights organization the Southern Poverty Law Center and, just around the corner, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, where Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. first preached his message of hope and brotherhood.
The church was also a focal point of the 1955-56 Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Aspirational travel rating: 8 suitcases
Grand Budapest Hotel
In this Wes Anderson-directed flick reportedly set in the years between the world wars, the hotel is as grand as the tale that surrounds it.
The film focuses on the misadventures of a European hotel’s concierge and his lobby boy, with everything going down in the fictional European Republic of Zubrowka.
There’s a murder mystery. Outrage over an inherited Renaissance painting. Breathtaking scenery. Harrowing train journeys. Prison fights.
At the center of it all is the glorious Grand Budapest Hotel, which takes viewers back to swankier travel days and makes us want to pack our steamer trunks, head for the Alps and waltz to a Victrola in a musty ballroom.
Experience the real thing: Impossible. Sadly, there’s no actual hotel you can check into.
For wide shots of the hotel, Anderson used a three-meter-high model.
Anderson reportedly based his model on European hotels of the period, such as the pink Palace Bristol Hotel in the Czech Republic.
Palace Bristol Hotel, Sadová 19 360 01 - Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic; +420 35 334 8802
What about the interiors? Many of the film’s scenes were shot inside the historic Goerlitz Department Store, now undergoing restoration.
It’s located in the German town of Goerlitz, about three hours from Berlin.
Goerlitz Department Store, Bismarckstrasse 21, Goerlitz, Germany
Aspirational rating: 9 suitcases