Oscar nominations 2014: Movies filmed in California barely register


The big loser in Thursday’s Oscar nominations may be California.

The state barely registered in the Oscar contest, at least when it comes to film locations, underscoring the difficulty California faces in keeping its homegrown industry from fleeing the state.

Only one of the nine best-picture nominees was actually filmed in California, the Warner Bros. movie “Her,” the Spike Jonze drama that shot in L.A. and Shanghai, China.

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The other eight nominees all were shot in other states and countries, including leading contenders “Gravity” (Britain), “American Hustle” (Massachusetts), “Captain Phillips” (Massachusetts, Malta and Morocco), and “Dallas Buyers Club” and “12 Years a Slave,” both of which were filmed in Louisiana.

Virtually all of the other Oscar nominations for categories such as cinematography, costume design, directing, film editing and lead actor performances were for live action movies that were filmed elsewhere.

A notable exception was “Blue Jasmine,” the Woody Allen movie that was shot in San Francisco. The Sony Pictures movie picked up nominations for Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins in the leading and supporting actress categories. Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks,” which also filmed locally, picked up a nomination for original score by Thomas Newman.

The paucity of California-based films in the Oscar contest reflects how rapidly film tax credits and incentives have influenced decisions on where movies get made.

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A recent report in the Los Angeles Times highlighted the growing trade in film tax credits in Louisiana, Georgia and other states and the increasing proliferation of film incentives. The Times’ analysis revealed that states paid out or approved $1.5 billion in tax breaks, rebates and other grants in 2012, up from only $2 million in 2002, leading to a sharp drop in production in California.


The number of top-grossing films shot in California has plummeted 60% in the last 15 years. During the same period, Louisiana quadrupled its share of top-grossing movies while Georgia’s output increased more than 300%, according to Times research.

This week, FilmL.A. Inc. released its own report documenting a two-decade long decline in local film and TV productions. While location filming for feature films rose by double digits last year, it remained 50% down from its peak in 1996, while production of TV dramas was down nearly 40% from its 2008 peak, according to the study.


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