10 Tar Heel Movies with Oscar Connections

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, film and television production in the Old North State is as old the two mediums themselves.

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.


  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 Fugitivefrom 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.