10 Tar Heel Movies with Oscar Connections

Artifacts from Bull Durham in the N.C. Museum of History's Starring North Carolina! exhibition. Artifacts from Bull Durham in the N.C. Museum of History's
Starring North Carolina! exhibition.

 

If you’ve lived in North Carolina for any length of time, you’ve probably heard about the Old North State’s rich tradition of film production.  From a 1921 film on the fate of the Lost Colony to The Longest Ride, based on a Nicholas Sparks movie and set to release later this year, film and television production in the Old North State is as old the two mediums themselves.

With all the excitement around this weekend’s Academy Awards, we got curious and took a tour of the N.C. Museum of History’s fantastic Starring North Carolina! exhibition to explore North Carolina’s connections to the film industry’s highest honor.

Here are 10 movies with ties to the Tar Heel State that have gained recognition at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual awards:

  1. Mogambo, though filmed almost exclusively internationally, earned Johnston County native Ava Gardner the only Academy Award nomination of her career.
  1. Filmed mostly in Georgia and South Carolina, scenes from 1972’s Deliverance were shot in Sylva. The film was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture.
Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner, a native of Johnston County, visit Gardner's mother in Raleigh in 1942 Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner, a native of Johnston County, visit Gardner's mother in Raleigh in 1942. Image from the State Archives.

 

  1. The Color Purple, from 1985, was nominated for best picture and 10 other Oscars but failed to win any. It was shot in Anson, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union Counties.
  1. David Lynch was nominated for Best Director for his 1986 crime drama Blue Velvet, which was shot in Wilmington and Lumberton.
  1. Crimes of the Heart, filmed in Caswell Beach, Southport, Wilmington and Winnabow garnered three Academy Award nominations. The 1986 movie’s “Botrelle Mansion” is in fact Orton Planation in Brunswick County.
  1. Though set in upstate New York, 1987’s Dirty Dancing was filmed mostly in Asheville and Buncombe Counties. The film won the Academy Award for Best Music, Best Original Song.
  1. 1988’s Bull Durham, was filmed in Burlington, Greensboro, Raleigh, Wilson and, of course, Durham.
  1. The Fugitive, from 1993, was nominated for best picture and earned Tommy Lee Jones the Best Supporting Actor award. Though mostly set in Chicago, scenes from the film were shot in Graham and Jackson Counties.
  1. Scenes from the American classic Forrest Gump were filmed at Biltmore Estate and Grandfather Mountain. The now legendary movie won six Oscars in 1995, including best picture, and was nominated for seven others.
  1. Nominated for best picture and three other awards in 1999, scenes from The Green Mile were filmed in Watauga County. In fact, Blowing Rock’s Flat Top Manor was used for the nursing home from which Tom Hanks narrates most of the story.
The television show Sleepy Hollow films at Tryon Palace in New Bern  in 2013. The television show Sleepy Hollow films at Tryon Palace in New Bern in 2013.

 

All of these ten films and dozens of others are featured or profiled in the Starring North Carolina! exhibition. Its 8,000-foot space showcases hundreds of film- and television-related items from the 1900s to the present and explores how North Carolinians’ experience at the movies changed over time.

Some of the most popular artifacts in the exhibition include Leonardo’s mask from the 1990 movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a costume worn by Jennifer Lawrence, who portrayed “Katniss” in the 2012 movie The Hunger Games and Ricky Bobby’s No. 26 Wonder Bread race car from the 2006 movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,

Tickets to Starring North Carolina! are available online and at the N.C. Museum of History’s gift shop. Stop by and see us this Oscar weekend.

Check out the N.C. Museum of History’s A Place and Time blog for more highlights from the museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs and people, and for features on the history of the Tar Heel State.

Comments

Patch Adams filmed in Çhapel Hill and Asheville. Also The Hunger Games. Sadly, this tradition will end, as the NCGA did not extend tax cuts to the movie industry, costing thousands of NC jobs.

I think you should have mentioned LAST OF THE MOHICANS which won awards

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