How Massachusetts Stacks Up This Oscars Season

We do the math on Hollywood, Massachusetts.

world class

Photographs by iStockphoto; David Shankbone (David O. Russell); Manfred Werner (Kenneth Lonergan); Gage Skidmore (Jennifer Lawrence); Sharon Graphics (Ben Affleck); WaytoFamous (Casey Affleck); AP (Chris Evans)

A-listers will descend on L.A. this month for the 89th Academy Awards, but Massachusetts will likely share in the spotlight that night. While Casey Affleck’s lauded turn in the critical darling Manchester by the Sea may be a high point for local filmmaking, it’s hardly our big-screen debut—15 movies were filmed here in 2016 alone. In fact, we’ve been ready for our close-up since 1896, when one of the world’s first silent films was shot in Buzzards Bay. Tinseltown loves our scenic coast, our action-packed history, our bounty of Afflecks, and, oh yeah, our generous (if slightly controversial) film tax credit. The governor has registered his disapproval of its overly kind terms, but to no avail against a Democratic legislature proud of our cinema presence. Here’s how Boston has spent the past century on the silver screen.


Our Little Gold Men

Films with the most Oscar wins
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 5
The Departed 4
The Social Network 3

Massachusetts natives with the most Oscar wins
Costume designer Irene Sharaff 5
Art Director Lyle Wheeler 5
Actress Bette Davis 2
Actor Jack Lemmon 2

Films with the most nominations
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 13
American Hustle 10
Good Will Hunting 9
The Social Network 8

Massachusetts natives with the most nominations
Wheeler 29
Sharaff 16
Davis 11
Lemmon 8



Number of German-language TV movies based on books by British romance novelist Katie Forde filmed in Massachusetts since 2014


Cinema Timeline


First movie shot here: Rip Van Winkle series, shot in Buzzards Bay


First talkie shot here: Ah, Wilderness


First locally shot film to win an Oscar: Portrait of Jennie


First crime film shot here: Mystery Street


First color film shot here: The Cardinal


Most recent locally shot film to win an Oscar: Spotlight


Affleck Rumble

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Boston Films Acted In
Ben: 4
Casey: 4

Boston Films Directed
Ben: 3
Casey: 0


Mass Benefits

Questions of its value aside, our state’s film tax credit has kept moviemakers of all stripes pretty happy.


Year the film tax credit was passed


Year the current credit program expires


Minimum budget for a movie to qualify for the credit in 2005


Minimum budget for a movie to qualify today


Find Your Favorite Bay State Film

Hollywood film locations are scattered all over the state—here’s just a sample.

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*Movies may have had additional filming locations in the state.

Most frequently used locations in 2016:

Boston: 8
Malden: 4
Cambridge: 3
Tewksbury: 3

Most frequently used locations of all time:


kenneth lonergan

“It’s an area that’s really retained its identity.”

Director Kenneth Lonergan, on why he likes filming here

david o russell

“To me, it’s a gold mine.”

Director David O. Russell (Joy, The Fighter, American Hustle), on why he keeps coming back

jennifer lawrence

“It was so miserable.”

Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), on the pleasures of filming in Boston during the historic snowfall of 2015


chris evans is the best bang


Amount a movie earns for every dollar Boston-bred actor Chris Evans gets paid, making him the best bang for Hollywood’s buck