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If you want a Best Picture Oscar, make a movie set in New York, not the Philippines

Lupita Nyong'o in the 2013 Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave
Lupita Nyong'o in the 2013 Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave
12 Years a Slave
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Location, location, location.

That saying usually applies to real estate, but it apparently it works for the Oscars too. A Reddit user who goes by the name VictorVan plotted the settings for all 84 Best Picture winners between 1929 and 2013 on a map of the world (click for a bigger version):

(reddit user VictorVan)

You'll notice that there have been a lot of winners set in New York:

New York movies (VictorVan)

London does all right for itself too. Movies set in, say, Southeast Asia haven't struck as much gold:


The only winner on the map that isn't set on Earth is The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (VictorVan places it in New Zealand, where it was filmed). Obviously, this map isn't proof that movies set in New York or London are automatically better than ones set elsewhere. But it is interesting to see which locales get more attention, and it's a way of examining which stories the Academy favors.

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