The 88th Annual Academy Awards, or Oscars® 2016 will take place on February 28th at the centre of the movie universe, Hollywood.

Aside from the controversy that has surrounded the prestigious awards this year, the anticipated fashion frenzy on red carpet attire and winner predictions that are buzzing around in the press, Visit Bristol have sought out Bristol's connections with the Oscars and they’re not to be sniffed at.

Oscars UK Qualifying Festival - Encounters Festival, Bristol

The longest running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK, Encounters Festival takes place at Watershed, Arnolfini and Cube Cinema in Bristol in September and showcases the best of the International short film-making talent.

Encounters is a qualifying UK festival for the world’s most prestigious film awards, the Oscars, BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or.  

Each year the Encounters Festival Grand Prix winners qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards. Six films shortlisted for the 2016 Oscars are made by Encounters alumni and were screened at Encounters in Bristol in 2015.

Encounters Film Festival

Photo credit, Encounters Festival

Wildlife Oscars – Wildscreen, Bristol

The Wildscreen Festival which takes place every two years in Bristol, is the world's leading international festival celebrating and rewarding excellence in wildlife film-making.

The Wildscreen Panda Awards are considered the highest accolade, or Oscars for the wildlife film and TV industry.

David Attenborough BBC

Sir David Attenborough, photo credit BBC

Bristol-born Hollywood Legend, Cary Grant

Bristol born and bred star, Cary Grant began his career at Bristol Hippodrome before leaving for the USA and gaining US citizenship there in 1942.

Despite being nominated for an Oscar for roles in Penny Serenade and None But the Lonely Heart, he never won. However, in April 7, 1970, Grant received the Academy's special Honorary Oscar for his life's work. 

This summer, the city will honour the Bristolian Hollywood film star with the Cary Grant Comes Home for the Weekend Festival taking place in July.

Cary Grant Avon Gorge Hotel

Cary Grant, Avon Gorge Hotel, in front of Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol

Four times Oscar-Winning Bristol-based studio, Aardman Animations

Last summer Shaun the Sheep sculptures could be seen dotted around Bristol in various jolly guises for a city-wide trail and fundraising initiative (see Shaun in the City for the Wallace & Gromit Children’s charity). This February he’s on his way to Hollywood as one of this year’s animated Oscar frontrunners thanks to Aardman’s Shaun the Sheep Movie.

Aardman Animations, based in Bristol, has a total of ten Oscars nominations and has won four thanks to animated features such as Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and The Wrong Trousers.

Wallace & Gromit, photo credit Aardman Animations

Animation legend & triple Oscar winner, Richard Williams

Best-known for his work as Animation Director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Richard Williams also directed the Academy Award-winning A Christmas Carol (1971). Amazingly, Canadian-born Williams has clocked up three Oscar wins and now lives in Bristol.

His recent animated short, Prologue, which he finished off at Aardman Animations and debuted in 2015 has been nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category at the Oscars 2016.

Richard WIlliams

Photo credit Richard Williams

Oscar-winning Bristol Old Vic Alumni, Daniel Day-Lewis

One of the most acclaimed actors of his generation, Daniel Day-Lewis was a former Bristol Old Vic Theatre School student. Day-Lewis has won umpteen awards, including three Academy Awards for Best Actor, making him the only male actor in history to win Best Actor this many times.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Photo credit Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Oscar-winning makeup artist, Peter Owen

Former University of Bristol student and long-time Bristol resident, Peter Owen is a makeup artist who won at the 74th Academy Awards for Best Makeup for the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. He shared his win with Richard Taylor.

Over his career, Owen has racked up a ton of wins and nominations for films including Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Peter Owen now lives just outside Bristol and had this to say about the city: “I came up to Bristol University in 1969, and immediately felt at home. Despite thirty years of world travel for my work, it has never occurred to me to move. Bristol is vibrant, varied, beautiful and very hilly. The theatre and music traditions of the city are something to be proud of. While a student I got a job at the Vic as a dresser, then a costume maker. The six years I spent at the Vic were my training ground and springboard for my career, I was allowed to teach myself what I do now. It was so important to me that I still feel quite possessive about it. Thank you, Bristol Old Vic, for everything”.

Peter Owen Oscar

Oliver Paton from Destination Bristol holding Peter Owen's Oscar

Jeremy Irons

It seems Bristol Old Vic is something of a powerhouse when it comes to churning out Oscar winners! Yet another Old Vic theatre student is Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons, trained here before going on to star in TV shows and films.

He will return to the theatre later this year starring alongside Lesley Manville in Long Day's Journey Into Night, as part of their 250th anniversary celebrations. Book tickets here.

Long Day's Journery into Night

Peter O'Toole

Although not a student of Bristol Old Vic, Peter O'Toole started his career at the theatre and performed as part of its theatre company for over three years.

O’Toole was nominated for several Best Actor Oscars during the course of his career.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Bristol Old Vic Theatre, photo credit Destination Bristol

Bristol as a filming location

This year Mark Rylance, star of Wolf Hall, has been nominated for his supporting role in Stephen Spielberg's Cold War drama, Bridge of Spies.

Rylance recently spent time in Bristol filming the BBC’s popular Wolf Hall at several locations in the city including Bristol Cathedral, Berkeley Castle, the Floating Harbour and The Bottle Yard Studios. Visitors are able to take a ‘Wolf Hall Tour’ at the Cathedral and the rooms and Bailey Gates seen in the programme are included in Berkeley Castle’s historic tours.

Mark Rylance Bristol Cathedral

Mark Rylance, Bristol Cathedral, photo credit BBC

Former Bristol Boy, Oscar nominee Martin Roe

Now based in LA, Martin Roe is a Bristol boy who grew up on Gloucester Road. Roe's 30-minute film Buzkashi Boys was nominated in the Short Film category in 2013.


Encounters Film Festival
Participatory Event
Encounters Film Festival 2020

Bristol’s largest international film festival celebrates its 25th edition this year with a handpicked programme of film, animation and virtual reality.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre
Bristol Old Vic Theatre exterior

Built in 1766, Bristol Old Vic is the oldest continuously working theatre in the English speaking world, and remains a place of joy, discovery and adventure to this day.

Bristol Cathedral
Bristol Cathedral

Much more than a fascinating building, being a fine example of a hall church, it is a centre of Bristol's history, civic life and culture.

Berkeley Castle
Aerial shot of Berkeley Castle Bristol

Berkeley Castle is a beautiful and historic Castle, begun in 1117 and still remains the home of the Berkeley family. It is a great day-out for all the family, hosting special events on bank holidays and during school holidays

Gloucester Road Shopping
Gloucester Road Shopping

Gloucester Road is located in North Bristol and runs through St Andrews, Bishopston and Horfield. It has a large number of independent traders as well as household names.