5 Academy Award-Nominated Films Featuring Wine

Everyone’s favorite beverage also made it to the big screen in these critically acclaimed films.

There’s more to wine in movies than just Sideways. Sure, it arguably played as big a role as Paul Giamatti, but wine’s landed lead roles in major flicks dating back to the 1940s.

In honor of the 87th Academy Awards on Sunday (8:30 pm EST, ABC), here’s a list of Oscar winners and nominees where wine plays an important role to advance the plot or set the mood.

Love it or hate it, 2013’s Baz Luhrman-helmed The Great Gatsby won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume and Production Design. Catherine Martin, the film’s production designer, wanted 1920s history to play a big role, and what better way to do that than to tap historical Champagne house Moët & Chandon? They recreated bottles and labels of the famed 1921 Brut Imperial, a task made easier because Moët maintains an archive of its so-called Grand Vintages.

Yes, we’re including a kids’ movie on this list. Winner for Best Animated Feature Film, Ratatouille (2007) follows chef Alfredo Linguini and rat Remy as they cook in a high-end Parisian kitchen. The two quickly make a name for themselves, but their mouthwatering dishes also share screen time with some of the most legendary bottles of wine, specifically Château Cheval Blanc 1947 and Château Latour 1961.

The charming Danish film Babette’s Feast (1987) took home Best Foreign Language Film honors. It’s centered on Babette, a Frenchwoman who fled Paris and was employed as a housekeeper by two puritan Danish sisters for 14 years. After winning 10,000 francs in the lottery, Babette decides not to return to France, but to spend it all on a “real French dinner” for her employers and their parsimonious congregation. The film’s themes of sacrifice and pleasure are memorable, but so is the opulence of the feast. During one scene in which Babette’s supplies are delivered to the home, one of the sisters asks, “Surely, that isn’t wine?” Babette replies indignantly, “No, that isn’t wine. It’s Clos de Vougeot 1845.” Enough said.

Two James Bond films make the cut: Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965), winner for Best Effects (sound and visual, respectively). No stranger to the finer things in life, Bond quaffs Dom Pérignon instead of shaken martinis this go-around, specifically the 1953 and 1955 vintages (paired with Beluga caviar, no less).

Alfred Hitchcock’s espionage thriller Notorious (1946) may have starred Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, but it was Claude Rains who snagged the nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In the film, government agent T.R. Devlin (Grant) recruits Alicia Huberman (Bergman) to spy on Nazis, and she eventually marries Alex Sebastian (Rains). While Champagne makes cameo appearances throughout, it’s the pivotal scene in Sebastian’s extensive wine cellar that gets the most praise—when the two lovelorn spies finally kiss, they also discover wine bottles filled with uranium ore.

The Wine + Music Issue
Published on February 18, 2015
Topics: Celebrities, Wine and Pop Culture
About the Author
Joseph Hernandez

Hernandez is a Chicago-based writer and editor obsessed with wine, food and being an oft-misguided know-it-all. WSET certified, his work has appeared in various print and digital publications, including National Geographic's Intelligent Travel blog, Food RepublicModern Luxury's Men's Book and Chef Marcus Samuelsson's blog. When he's not drinking Champagne or funky Loire Valley reds, you can find Hernandez documenting his latest meal or day trip on Instagram.

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