Bristol’s outstanding contribution to film culture and creativity was recently given global recognition with the announcement that it had been named a UNESCO City of Film.

Put this together with the world-renowned Bristol Old Vic Theatre School - the training ground of many a leading lady (and man), plus a host of film festivals and a sprinkle of Hollywood glamour and you can create your own Bristol itinerary full of Oscars-themed fun.

Bristol Old Vic & Bristol Old Vic Theatre School

Inside Bristol Old Vic Theatre

Image - Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School is something of a powerhouse when it comes to churning out Oscar winners - Daniel Day Lewis and Jeremy Irons are both alumni, as are nominees Miranda Richardson, Pete Postlethwaite and Naomie Harris. Theatre lovers should seek out productions by current theatre school students – it’s very possible they could be the next big stars!

The Bristol Old Vic Theatre itself is the oldest continually running theatre in the English speaking world – in 2016 it celebrated its 250th birthday. Every effort has been made to preserve the much-loved theatre's original features, and some say it may even still be haunted by ghosts of its characters’ past. 

Aardman Animations

Wallace & Gromit

Image - Wallace and Gromit, credit Aardman Animations

With 10 nominations and four wins, Aardman are officially Oscar legends. One of the sets from The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (winner of Best Animated Feature – 2006) can be seen within the ‘Animate It’ exhibition in We The Curious, where you can learn to animate your own stop-motion feature. Aardman also offer team building experiences for corporates and groups with their ‘Make a Model’ workshops.

This summer, Aardman’s iconic characters Gromit, Wallace and Feathers McGraw will take to the streets of Bristol in Gromit Unleashed 2 (2 July -2 September) – its third major arts trail with children’s charity, Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal. The trail promises to be bigger and better than ever with exciting themes of technology and innovation, plus interactive sculptures.

Cary Grant

Cary Grant Avon Gorge Hotel

Cary Grant at the Avon Gorge Hotel, in front of Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, credit Evening Post

Born in Bristol in 1904, Archibald Leach (Cary Grant’s real name, the name of his dog and John Cleese’s character in the Oscar nominated A Fish Called Wanda) was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1970 after being nominated twice. Grant began his career at Bristol Hippodrome before leaving for the USA and gaining US citizenship there in 1942. Grant regularly came back to the city and many pictures can be found with him at famous landmarks including Bristol Cathedral, Brunel’s SS Great Britain and Clifton Suspension Bridge. He has been commemorated with a statue on Millennium Square (outside We The Curious), in street art form outside Room 212 on Gloucester Rd and with a blue plaque outside his childhood home in Horfield. Look out for the biannual Cary Grant FestivalCary Comes Home (the next one is in autumn 2018).

Encounters Film Festival

Pierre Coffin

Image - Minions creator (and man behind their voice) Pierre Coffin at Encounters 2017

The longest running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK, Encounters takes place at Watershed and Arnolfini in Bristol every September and is one of the most important film festivals in the city's calendar. There is a great public programme along with industry events. 

Each year the Encounters Festival Grand Prix winners qualify for consideration in the Short Films category of the Annual Academy Awards as well as other prestigious film awards including the BAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

Wildlife Oscars – Wildscreen Festival

Trailer - Wildscreen Festival 2018

The Wildscreen Festival (15-19 Oct 2018) 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 – the Oscars for the wildlife film and TV industry.

Other Oscar nominees 

Sherlock

Image - Martin Freeman & Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock, courtesy of Hartswood Films for the BBC

Dev Patel, Oscar nominee in 2017, has a strong Bristol connection. Dev played the role of Anwar Kharral in Skins – the Channel 4 show filmed in Bristolsee more about Skins locations

Benedict Cumberbatch, nominated for Best Actor in 2015, has also spent much filming time in Bristol. Cumberbatch starred in BBC1's phenomenally popular Sherlock, for which Bristol has played host on various occasions since the series began in 2010. 

Animation legend & triple Oscar winner, Richard Williams is best-known for his work as Animation Director on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Williams also directed the Academy Award-winning A Christmas Carol (1971). Canadian-born Williams has clocked up an amazing three Oscar wins and now lives in Bristol. His recent animated short, Prologue, which he finished off at Aardman Animations and debuted in 2015, was nominated in the Best Animated Short Film category at the Oscars 2016.

Oscar-winning makeup artist, Peter Owen

Embed from Getty Images

Former University of Bristol student and long-time Bristol resident, Peter Owen is a makeup artist who won Best Makeup for the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring at the 74th Academy Awards. 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 spent six years at Bristol Old Vic – the training ground and springboard for his career.

Bristol as a filming location

Mark Rylance Bristol Cathedral

Mark Rylance, Bristol Cathedral, photo credit BBC

Mark Rylance, star of Wolf Hall, was nominated for his supporting role in Stephen Spielberg's Cold War drama, Bridge of Spies. Rylance recently filmed the BBC’s 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.

Watch the movies!

Holotronica

Image - Holotronica at Encounters 2017

Bristol is spoilt with a choice of big screen branded theatres to art house cinemas to outdoor screenings, plus film nights in the most unusual places. Bristol Film Festival and Cinema Rediscovered are great ways to rediscover old favourites and Oscar winners and nominees in new surroundings. How about The African Queen at RWA, Electric Shadows - Days of Heaven at Bristol CathedralEdward Scissor Hands at Redcliffe Caves or Corpse Bride at Arnos Vale Cemetery? Or relive the magic of one of the greatest movie heroes, Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark with John Williams’ epic score performed live to picture by The Czech National Symphony Orchestra at Colston Hall.

La La Land in Bristol

La La Land

Image - Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) in LA LA LAND. Photo credit: Dale Robinette

Related

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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.

Aardman Away Days
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Book an Aardman Away Day for a fun, creative and alternative team building day out of the office with your organisation!

We The Curious
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We The Curious North Gallery

We The Curious (formerly At-Bristol Science Centre) is a state-of-the-art visitor attraction, offering an amazing world of hands-on discovery for you, your friends and family.

Gromit Unleashed 2
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The Bristol Hippodrome
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Bristol Hippodrome theatre inside

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Bristol Cathedral
Cathedral/Minster
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.

Brunel's SS Great Britain
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Brunel's SS Great Britain Bristol

Step aboard the award-winning Brunel's SS Great Britain for a ship shape and Bristol fashion day out!

Clifton Suspension Bridge
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Clouds over Clifton Suspension Bridge Bristol - CREDIT GARY NEWMAN

The world famous bridge and the iconic symbol of Bristol, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel in 1831 and completed in 1864 after his death

Room 212
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Room 212

A treasure trove of Bristol artwork from paintings and prints to jewellery, craft, cards and gifts. The perfect place to find original, quirky, handmade artwork by local artists.

Encounters Film Festival
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Encounters Film Festival

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

Cinema Rediscovered
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A chance to discover some of the finest new digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities from across the globe.

Watershed
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Watershed Bristol Harbourside

Enjoy a lively programme of independent film, digital media and events at this fantastic media centre in the heart of the Harbourside

Arnolfini
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Arnolfini at Bristol Harbourside

Arnolfini is a centre for contemporary arts based on Bristol’s Harbourside. The organisation is dedicated to producing and presenting visual arts, performance, film, music and events.

Bristol Film Festival: Edward Scissorhands at Redcliffe Caves
Film
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Bristol Film Festival: The African Queen at the RWA
Film
Bristol Film Festival: The African Queen at the RWA

The critically acclaimed adventure film, which won Humphrey Bogart his Best Actor Oscar, returns to the big screen as part of our Academy Screenings series, which celebrates and explores the rich cultural heritage of Academy Award-winning movies.

Electric Shadows - Days of Heaven at Bristol Cathedral
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Electric Shadows - Days of Heaven at Bristol Cathedral

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Alternative Valentines Day: Cemetery Tour and Corpse Bride at Arnos Vale Cemetery

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Bristol Cathedral
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Bristol Cathedral

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Berkeley Castle
Castle/Fort
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