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Published on January 24, 2024
Boston's Big Screen Brilliance: "American Fiction" and "The Holdovers" Secure Oscar Best Picture NodsSource: Unsplash/ Fabian

Boston is hogging the Oscar spotlight with not one, but two films filmed in the Commonwealth earning nods for the Best Picture at this year's Academy Awards. "American Fiction" and "The Holdovers," which are both heavily Bostonian not just behind the camera but in front of it as well, have found favor with the Academy. Lisa Lobel, Boston Casting Co-Owner and Casting Director responsible for bringing local talent to these films, couldn't hold back her pride. "The actors and the crew here have really stepped it up," as Lobel told 7NEWS.

Filmed entirely on location across Massachusetts, "The Holdovers" features a snowbound boarding school and stars a winter-wrapped Paul Giamatti alongside Da'Vine Joy Randolph. The film is in the running for multiple awards, including Best Actor and Best Editing. Echoes of the Oscar-lauded "Good Will Hunting" are audible, hinting that these features could usher in waves of new tourists inspired by the latest Massachusetts-set blockbusters. David Walji, a tourist from England, who confessed to 7NEWS that movies like "Good Will Hunting" contribute to Boston's cache as a must-visit spot.

Speaking to the potential boost to tourism these films could bring, Judith Chafee, a former acting teacher, weighed in on the cultural ripple effect of the Oscar nods. "It’s great for Boston and for actors here," as Chafee said in a statement obtained by 7NEWS. Meanwhile, “American Fiction” earned additional Academy recognition beyond Best Picture, reeling in nominations for categories including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score, with actors Jeffrey Wright and Sterling K. Brown scoring nods for their performances.

"The Holdovers," directed by Alexander Payne of "Sideways" fame, paints a picture of an unlikely holiday family formed within the confines of an empty New England prep school during the 1970s. Boston and its surrounding neighborhoods provided a historical backdrop for the comedy, bringing a vintage vibe to the silver screen. The film made use of real Massachusetts landmarks, including Northfield Mount Hermon boarding school and Boston’s own Orpheum Theatre, as captured in the movie's trailer. According to the article by WCVB, Giamatti was even spotted in costume braving the Boston Common in a long coat and hat.

As these Massachusetts-filmed gems go head-to-head with other Best Picture contenders like "Anatomy of a Fall," "Barbie," and "Oppenheimer," all eyes are on March 10, when Hollywood hands out its golden statuettes. The strength of the local film economy only stands to grow, and Christopher Inman, having witnessed the streets of Boston transform for the movie magic, noted, "It’s good for the industry." The message is clear: Lights, camera, action, and maybe a touch of that sweet Academy gold are a perfect concoction for Beantown to shine on the global stage.