Another best picture nominee, "Amour," takes place in present-day Paris. "Amour," about an aging couple dealing with illness, is often grim and wrenching, but Paris, always a source of light, provides hints of their rich life, whether it's their well-appointed residence (the setting for most of the film) or places where the former music teachers hear performances. Rent an apartment of your own through sites such as airbnb.com or parisattitude.com, and listen to music at such spots as Le Carmen (in Georges Bizet's old house, 35 rue Duperré), the classical music showcase Salle Gaveau (45 rue de la Boetie) and Autour de Midi, a jazz club near the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre (11 rue Lepic).
Around the South
The bayous of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" seem otherworldly. The young heroine, Hushpuppy (Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis), and her father, Wink (Dwight Henry), live in a fictional marshy area called the Bathtub, isolated from the outside except for occasional boat traffic. The film was shot around Montegut, Louisiana, about 70 miles southeast of New Orleans.
Despite the erosion of recent decades, the Louisiana wetlands still remain a rich home to many varieties of fish, birds and plant life. Several companies offer tours, including Zam's Bayou Swamp Tours (136 Kraemer Bayou Road, Thibodaux; 985-633-7881) and Bayou Black Airboat Swamp Tours (251 Marion Drive, Houma).
While you're in the area, drive west on Highway 90 toward New Iberia and then head south to Avery Island. That's the home of the McIlhenny Company, makers of Tabasco sauce. The company offers regular tours of its factory and the surrounding area.
In the other direction -- about 35 miles north of Thibodaux -- you'll find the town of Edgard, where much of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" was filmed. It's in this Mississippi River town, at Evergreen Plantation, that Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) has his plantation (though, in the movie, it's in Mississippi).
Evergreen Plantation remains a fully functional sugar cane plantation, according to its website, with 37 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places -- including 22 slave cabins. The site is privately owned and offers thrice-daily walking tours. The price is $20 per person, half-price for children under 12.
The world and Philadelphia
"Life of Pi" doesn't make it easy for the movie traveler. The film opens in Canada, where a writer is interviewing Pi Patel, a native of Pondicherry (now Puducherry), India. Patel's family runs a zoo, and early on, they decide to move to Canada and book passage on a ship. However, on the long trip across the Pacific, the ship sinks, and Patel is left to float in a lifeboat with a tiger.
The film was shot in a number of cities, but perhaps the most intriguing is Puducherry. The city, on India's southeast coast, is unique in that it was once colonized by the French and still has a notable French presence. Take a walk along the beach road, Goubert Avenue; drop by the Puducherry Museum, where you'll find ancient bronze and stone statues; and take a tour of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, one of the best-known in India. For more information on the city, go to the city's tourism website.
Or perhaps, on the whole, you'd rather be in Philadelphia, to paraphrase W.C. Fields. That's the locale of "Silver Linings Playbook," about two broken people finding their way to love through dancing.
The climax takes place at a dance competition at Ballroom at the Ben, in the former Benjamin Franklin Hotel (834 Chestnut St.). The hotel is now rental apartments, but there are several lodgings nearby, including the Loews Philadelphia (1200 Market St.) and the downtown Marriott (1201 Market St.). Want a gift for your sweetie? Sample the wares on Jewelers' Row (Sansom Street between Seventh and Eighth).
Though football season has ended -- and the film's beloved Eagles fell well short of the Super Bowl -- Lincoln Financial Field offers regular tours. VIP tours are $10 per adult.
And, when it's time to wind down, head out to Upper Darby, just a few miles west of the city line, where you'll find the Llanerch Diner (95 E. Township Line Road). This is where Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence) meet for a late-night bowl of Raisin Bran. You can arrive anytime; the restaurant is open 24 hours a day.
Just tell 'em Hollywood sent you.