Mackinac Island’s Academy Award nominee

When done well, movies can entertain us, inspire us and move us. They can capture our imagination and show us how things were, how things are and how things could be. Each year for the past century, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has gathered to recognize the people who have made movies that do that best.

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, represent the pinnacle of cinematic excellence. And even though Mackinac Island is a long way from Hollywood, a movie filmed on the island once received a nomination for one of those prestigious Academy Awards.

The film “Somewhere in Time” was a 1981 Oscar nominee for best costume design. Ever since, the movie has enjoyed a cult following of fans who flock to Mackinac Island to visit the locations of their favorite scenes.

Jane Seymour poses for a photo with a young woman dressed like Seymour's character in Somewhere in Time, which was filmed on Mackinac Island

Remembering ‘Somewhere in Time’ on Mackinac Island

Blending romance, science fiction and drama, “Somewhere In Time” utilized Mackinac Island’s timelessness, sweeping landscapes and intrinsic beauty as the backdrop to the story. Starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer (who himself would later win an Oscar), the movie tells the tale of a Chicago playwright who uses self-hypnosis to travel back in time to 1912 when he meets an actress and falls in love.

As the story unfolds, the film showcases numerous Mackinac Island landmarks. Grand Hotel, Round Island Lighthouse, Mission Point Resort and the Somewhere in Time Gazebo just east of Fort Mackinac all are prominent fixtures throughout the film. The film also depicts something unusual for car-free Mackinac Island: Motor vehicles. The production received special permission to bring cars onto Mackinac Island for filming.

Since the movie came out in 1980, a devout fan base has emerged. For example, Grand Hotel hosts a “Somewhere In Time” weekend every year. The celebration typically includes screenings of the film, panel discussions, people dressed like characters in the film, music from the film played by the Grand Hotel orchestra and more. Jane Seymour even has joined the festivities from time to time, posing for pictures with adoring fans and signing autographs. She has told Forbes that some people still know her best from “Somewhere In Time” and that returning to Grand Hotel is always special.

A gazebo built for the filming of Somewhere in Time still stands on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island landmarks from ‘Somewhere in Time’

For fans of the film, a Mackinac Island visit is a must – whether you come during “Somewhere In Time” weekend or not. And if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s definitely worth a watch just to see how the film does a wonderful job of capturing Mackinac Island’s majesty and mystical charm.

Many people, both longtime fans of the film and those newly introduced to the heartbreaking love story, make a point of visiting sites from the movie including the Somewhere in Time Gazebo up near Fort Mackinac, the “Is it you?” marker near the water below Grand Hotel, the Grand Hotel itself and the theater at Mission Point Resort. In fact, the Mission Point Theater often screens the movie throughout the visitor season.

The next time you watch the Academy Awards, think of “Somewhere in Time” and how it, too, once was honored among the very best works in the film industry.

History of Somewhere in Time gazebo on Mackinac Island

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