Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia

Forsyth Park in Savannah, Georgia

Oscar-winning Georgia Films & Locations

Georgia has a longstanding tradition of award-winning films. The most prestigious awards, the Academy Awards, have even been granted to movies filmed in the state, as well as Georgia-born actors and actresses. "I, Tonya," "Forrest Gump," "Driving Miss Daisy," "The Blind Side," "Glory," "Selma," and "My Cousin Vinny" all have nabbed the Oscar statue. 

I, Tonya

Allison Janney as Tonya Harding's mother, LaVona, in I, Tonya

The 2017 biopic about figure skater Tonya Harding and the 1994 attack on Nancy Kerrigan stars Margot Robbie as Tonya, and her mother, LaVona, is played by Allison Janney. Janney received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and Robbie was nominated for Best Actress. Directed by Craig Gillespie, "I, Tonya" also was nominated for Best Film Editing. Filming sites around Georgia included the Atlanta Ice Forum and Infinite Energy Arena in Duluth, and the Macon Centreplex


David Oyelowo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma

Based on the life of Atlanta-born Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1965 Selma march for voting rights, "Selma" was filmed throughout Georgia. It was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year and won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song for the song "Glory" by John Legend and Common. Filming sites included the Marietta Square, the Rockdale County Courthouse in Conyers, and throughout Newton County. Although King was a preacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church, neighboring Wheat Street Baptist Church was used in its place for the film. The Georgia Capitol in Atlanta also was used.

Forrest Gump

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump

Based on the book by Winston Groom, award-winning "Forrest Gump" is about the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. Winner of six Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Tom Hanks) and Best Director (Robert Zimeckis), the film is known primarily for its ties in Savannah, especially Chippewa Square, where Forrest sat on the bench. The real bench, however, is now located at the Savannah History Museum. Savannah Movie Tours showcases the movie's locations as well as other projects filmed nearby. 

My Cousin Vinny

Marisa Tomei and Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny

Monticello was used as the small Alabama town featured in the 1991 film "My Cousin Vinny" about two New Yorkers who find themselves on trial and must bring in their bumbling cousin to be their lawyer. Marisa Tomei received the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her unforgettable performance as Mona Lisa Vito. Locations like Sac-O-Suds and the Jasper County Courthouse were used in the film and can still be visited. Monticello is also known as the home of country music legend Trisha Yearwood.


Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman in Glory

The 1988 film "Glory" tells of the first all-black volunteer company that served in the Civil War. Under the leadership of Colonel Shaw, the group must overcome their own prejudices to come together. The film won three Oscars: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Denzel Washington), Best Cinematography and Best Sound. It also was nominated for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration and Best Film Editing. In Savannah, the Georgia State Railroad Museum was used for its original blacksmith shop and other historic buildings. Today, the museum has interpretive displays and exhibits. Nearby Jekyll Island's iconic Driftwood Beach was also used as a filming location.

Driving Miss Daisy

Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy in Driving Miss Daisy

In "Driving Miss Daisy," an elderly Jewish woman and her African American chauffeur develop a unique friendship in the American South. The film won four Academy Awards: Best Picture; Best Actress in a Leading Role (Jessica Tandy); Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; and Best Makeup. It also was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Morgan Freeman), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Dan Aykroyd), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and Best Film Editing. The movie was filmed throughout the Atlanta area, including Decatur’s Agnes Scott College and Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood. But Druid Hills best identifies the movie, as it was here that Hebrew Benevolent Congregation Temple was used as her temple that was bombed. The building was actually bombed in 1958 because of the rabbi's civil rights movement support.

The Blind Side

Sandra Bullock, Phillip Fulmer (center, orange hat), Ray McKinnon (center, visor) and Quinton Aaron (right foreground) in The Blind Side

Based on the book by Michael Lewis, Atlanta stood in for Memphis in the 2009 film about Michael Oher, who went from homelessness to the NFL. Taken in by the Tuohy family, Michael goes to college and plays professionally. Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy. The film also was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year. Agnes Scott College in Decatur, The Shed at Glenwood, and Grant Park all were used as filming locations. 

Published: May 2018
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