The region which plays a leading role in some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters

Bradley Cooper shot some of his Oscar nominated movie Maestro at Ely Cathedral. Credit: PA Images

It measures just 13½ inches tall, but winning one confirms your place among the giants of cinema.

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, are dished out every year to celebrate the best performances and creative achievements in film.

And this year the 96th Oscars, which will take place on Sunday, 10 March will be exclusively broadcast on ITV as part of a new multi-year deal with Disney Entertainment.

And while the eyes of the world will be on the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, there are plenty of contenders with links closer to home.

Here, ITV News Anglia's Rob Halden-Pratt takes a look at how East Anglia has grown to have a starring role on the silver screen.

And the award for...

Most tenuous link to an Oscar nomination goes to...

It's not all about location, location, location - the performers have enjoyed plenty of Oscar success too.

To borrow from a phrase never actually uttered by Sir Michael Caine, not a lot of people know that Bob Hoskins, who was nominated for his role in Mona Lisa, was born in Bury St Edmunds.

His links to Suffolk ended when he moved to London aged two weeks old.

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Most nominations without a win goes to...

Cambridge-educated Emma Thompson has been nominated five times for an Oscar, losing out three times.

Her two wins came in 1993 as Best Actress in Howard's End and then for Best Adpated Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility.

But at least she got to taste a bit of success... Norfolk resident John Hurt was twice nominated for the gong - for Midnight Express and The Elephant Man.

Suffolk's Ralph Fiennes has also been nominated twice - for his turns in two best picture winners.

Fiennes played the evil Nazi Amon Goeth in 1993's Schindler's List. Three years later his turn in The English Patient was pipped to the post by Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.

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Longest wait between drinks goes to...

Southend's finest export Helen Mirren was first nominated for an Academy Award in 1985 for her role in the IRA drama Cal.

It would take 21 years before she would actually pick up an award in her titular role in The Queen.

The late, great Sir Nigel Hawthorne, who lived in Thundridge, Hertfordshire, had to wait until he was 66 for his Oscar nomination for his role in The Madness of King George III.

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Best movie earworm goes to...

Northamptonshire-born Malcolm Arnold.

The composer penned the score to The Bridge Over The River Kwai and is reponsible for the Colonel Bogey March - beloved of whistlers everywhere.

And of course an honorary mention to the singer of another Oscar-winning tune - Cambridgeshire's Sam Smith.

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Newest national treasure goes to...

Olivia Colman.

The former pupil at Norwich High School for Girls' rise to international fame, saw her build her name as Sophie, the girlfriend of David Mitchell in Channel 4's Peep Show, then the emotive detective in ITV's Broadchurch before taking Hollywood by storm in The Favourite.

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Among those hoping to get their hands on the gold-plated bronze statuette is Bradley Cooper.

The Silver Linings Playbook star had already been nominated nine times before his new movie Maestro picked up a further three nods.

And while Ely Cathedral waits to find out if it will help Cooper to an Oscar win, plenty of other locations have already played a supporting role in film success biggest night.

The Tom Hanks of locations is probably Holkham.

Like Hanks - who scooped two statuettes for his roles in Philadelphia and Forrest Gump - the north Norfolk village has also bagged a brace of Oscars.

Tom Hanks played Forrest Gump in the multiple Academy Award-winning film Credit: PA

Holkham Hall and Holkham beach featured in Shakespeare in Love. The comic drama about the travails of the Bard netted seven Oscars in 1999.

It also featured in the Kiera Knightley film The Duchess which took home two awards for costume design and art direction.

That's not the only Norfolk location to have garnered celluloid fame. While actors often have body doubles, famously Jennifer Beals' last dance in Flashdance was replaced with another actor.

The same happens in film too.

Bury St Edmunds stepped in for Victorian London in The Personal History of David Copperfield, the Norfolk Broads doubled as Vietnamese rice fields in Stanley Kubrik's Full Metal Jacket and Winterton-on-Sea took on the role of 1930s Cape Cod in the 1977 Oscar winning Jane Fonda movie Julia.

Hatfield House in Hertfordshire has doubled as the interior of Wayne Manor in the Batman franchises (though it was not alone).

It also appeared in the Oscar-nominated Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

Of course, why settle for a stand-in when you can have the real thing?

The region has played a real-life role in some of history's biggest moments. The formerly top secret World War Two code-breaking site Bletchley Park famously helped crack the Nazi Enigma code, helping bring an end to the war.

Bletchley Park played itself in the Oscar-winning movie The Imitation Game, while The University of Cambridge's Trinity College put in a star performance in The Theory of Everything, the Eddie Redmayne-film about Professor Stephen Hawking.

Prof Stephen Hawking with Eddie Redmayne in 2015. Credit: PA images.

And spare a thought for those films to have just missed out on Oscar glory.

Most recently John Travolta's pet project The Shepherd. The Pulp Fiction star helped produce the short film which was shortlisted for the Best Live Short Category. But it just failed to make the final cut.

The film, which is available on Disney +, is set on Christmas Eve, and tells the story of young RAF pilot flying home across the North Sea finds himself in peril when his radio and electric power cut out, leaving him stranded and running on limited fuel.

The film was shot at various locations around Norfolk including Castle Acre, Raynham Hangars and RAF Sculthorpe near Fakenham.

Travolta caused quite a stir when he was spotted around the county - including a whistle-stop visit to Morrisons and a trip to a Wetherspoons.

John Travolta in the Dereham Wetherspoons with Jamie Salter Credit: Jamie Salter
  • You can watch this year's Oscars live from midnight on ITV1 and ITVX on March 11 in the UK. You can follow all the Oscars coverage here.

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