There were no big Scottish winners at the 90th Academy Awards but Scotland is out in front in the Hollywood filming stakes, with a host of big-budget movies now being shot here.
So with Oscar fever at its highest pitch, VisitScotland decided to celebrate our own stars of the big screen – with a special map linking this year’s Oscar contenders to film locations across the country.
The resultant Six Degrees of Scotland connected each of this year’s Best Actor and Best Actress nominees with a movie filmed on location in Scotland – in just six simple steps.
Each actor links to the next by a film they have appeared in together, until the chain reaches the Scottish film.
It is inspired by the six degrees of separation theory – set out by Frigyes Karinthy in 1929 – in which everyone in the world can be connected in six steps or fewer.
It is hoped Six Degrees of Scotland will further boost film tourism by inspiring fans to not only visit the locations of the films, known as set-jetting, but also to come up with Hollywood links of their own.
Jenni Steele, film and creative industries manager at VisitScotland, explained the concept.
She said: “We look at a variety of different ways to highlight Scottish film locations every year.
“And with Oscar season upon us, it seemed like an ideal time to reacquaint people with a few of the many locations they can visit here in Scotland, whether they are locals or from further afield.
“With so many categories in the Oscars, we decided to take the main actor and actress nominees and link them back to locations.
“We weren’t sure just how it would work until we started on the project but we came up with some interesting links.
“Meryl Streep and Trainspotting is not an obvious link, for example!
“The Six Degrees of Scotland map offers a fun way to reveal our movie connections.
“And we hope it inspires many more set-jetters to make their own Scottish film connections too.”
With almost £70 million spent in 2016 on filming in Scotland, the country has benefited from a new type of tourism – set-jetters who drop in to visit locations across the country.
And this has allowed VisitScotland to tap into that lucrative tourism market.
This summer looks set to bring another set-jet boon with the release of The Avengers: Infinity War, Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots – all of which were filmed in Scotland.
Jenni is not surprised filmmakers are now making the most of our country as a backdrop for their work.
She said: “Scotland’s unique mix of stunning landscapes, rich heritage and fascinating stories make it an irresistible draw for filmmakers from across the world.
“When Braveheart and Rob Roy were released, there was added interest in Scotland and as its appeal as a film location has steadily grown, so have the screen tourism opportunities.
“The Da Vinci Code in 2006 was the perfect way to promote Scottish myths, legends and, of course, the stunning Rosslyn Chapel.
“The Outlander series has also been a huge draw, with Jamie and Claire Fraser fans coming from all over the world to see both the filming and historical locations.
“There are some film connections people locally might not know about either.
“Some people didn’t realise, for example, that parts of Mission Impossible were filmed here.
“Our map gives a wee taste of some of these links but our website has information about many more, if people want to explore other movies filmed here in more detail.”
VisitScotland is now working hand in hand with film producers and distributors to ensure the country receives the publicity it deserves for its starring role.
Jenni added: “We all work together to ensure that the film and its links are well publicised, both at home and further afield.
“The film industry has really grown in the last ten years as filmmakers have realised just how much of a film-friendly location Scotland is.
“We also have a host of historical figures who people are still interested in, from Robert the Bruce to Mary Queen of Scots.
“These characters have an enduring appeal to filmmakers and audiences alike – and where better to film their stories than here in their own country?
“History is something visitors also really want to explore when they come here – our research shows it’s not all about film locations.
“That provides us with a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of what Scotland has to offer.”
VisitScotland’s core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism.
Using a wee bit of movie magic and Oscar, it is now cashing in on what is proving to be a golden age of filmmaking here in Scotland.
Six Degrees of Scotland
Six degrees of separation is the idea that all living things and everything else in the world are six or fewer steps away from each other.
So a chain of “a friend of a friend” statements can be made to connect any two people in a maximum of six steps.
Here’s how the Six Degrees of Scotland map links up.
* Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread) to Mrs Brown, filmed at Duns Castle, Scottish Borders.
* Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) to Macbeth, filmed at various locations on Isle of Skye.
* Denzel Washington (Roman J Israel, Esq) to Whisky Galore (2016), filmed at Portsoy, Aberdeenshire.
* Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) to Mission Impossible, filmed footage on the Annan to Dumfries rail line, Dumfries and Galloway.
* Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour) to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, filmed at Castle Stalker, Argyll.
* Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) to Skyfall, filmed at Glen Coe, Highlands.
* Meryl Streep (The Post) to Trainspotting, filmed at various locations in Edinburgh.
* Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) to Rob Roy, filmed at Drummond Castle Gardens, Perthshire.
* Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) to The Da Vinci Code, filmed at Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian.
* Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) to Highlander, filmed at Eilean Donan Castle, Kyle of Lochalsh.
The latest Scotland Visitor Survey found that almost a fifth of visitors were influenced to come to Scotland after seeing it on the big or small screen.
Film tourism is set for a further bump this year with the release of The Avengers: Infinity War, Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots, which were filmed in locations across Scotland.
For more on the film locations used in Six Degrees of Scotland, visit https://www.visitscotland.com/blog/films/six-degrees-of-scotland/.
You can also download a copy of the Six Degrees of Scotland map by visiting https://static.visitscotland.com/pdf/six-degrees-film-map.pdf.
Set in Scotland: A Film Fan’s Odyssey, published by VisitScotland, reveals details of more than 100 films shot in Scotland over the decades, from Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (1935) to Mabeth (2015), starring Michael Fassbender.For more visit www.visitscotland.com/film.