The Oscars rarely spotlight the most entertaining moments in movies. The Academy is too busy quibbling over how much screen time is too much for a supporting actor, whose 'turn' it is, and what is controversial, pandering, or offensive to celebrate a great action sequence or catch phrase. What about the explosions, care chases, and stunts? Here are our favorite moments from this year's blockbusters.
Best Location Scouting
1. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
For his Lord of the Rings prequel, Peter Jackson decided to keep filming all around New Zealand, and it's no wonder: The trip to Lonely Mountain follows the kind of rolling hills, dense woods, and cliff faces that you could only find on this island.
2. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
To track down elusive and evasive photojournalist Sean O'Connell, Life employee Walter Mitty goes from Greenland – where he takes a ride with a drunk helicopter pilot – to Iceland, to the Himalayas, where he finally finds O'Connell trying to photograph a snow leopard.
Like most of the unfortunate Earth-bound miscreants in Elysium, we too are pretty eager to take a trip to a verdant utopia where the weather is always perfect. For the filmmakers, that meant going to British Columbia.
4. Thor 2: The Dark World
Asgard – Thor's golden, glittering home turf – is a stark, beautiful world that could only have been shot in Iceland.
WINNER: The Hobbit. Even though it's already one of the top adventure travel destinations on the planet, Peter Jackson somehow makes New Zealand even more appealing.
Credit: Warner Bros.