5 Oscar-nominated and winning movies that are based on real-life people

Many films from the past have been made to reflect real events and real people. The films are often provided with twists doctored by Hollywood writers that aren’t completely historically accurate.

A handful of these films based on real-life people have done extraordinarily well, being stamped with Hollywood’s highest honor, an Oscar nomination, and in certain cases, a win.

These movies, Oscar-nominated and won, are based on real people and their stories. Plus, learn more about the individuals who inspired the movies and where they are now.

Leonardo DiCaprio at "The Wolf of Wall Street" premiere

Jordan Belfort was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” (Dave M. Benett/WireImage/File)


  1. “The Wolf of Wall Street” – Jordan Belfort
  2. “Erin Brockovich” – Erin Brockovich
  3. “Catch Me If You Can” – Frank Abagnale Jr.
  4. “The Big Short” – Michael Burry
  5. “Molly’s Game” – Molly Bloom

1. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ – Jordan Belfort 

“The Wolf of Wall Street” is a 2013 movie based on the 2007 memoir by Jordan Belfort. 

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Belfort in the Martin Scorsese-directed film. The movie tells of Belfort, an extremely wealthy stockbroker who was involved in illegal activity, including pump-and-dump schemes.

Belfort was sentenced to four years in prison for his crimes and served 22 months before his release.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” was nominated for five Oscars. DiCaprio was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Belfort, and Jonah Hill was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

Scorsese was nominated for Best Achievement in Directing and Terence Winter was nominated for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay. The movie was also nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year.


Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort released his most recent book titled “The Wolf of Investing: My Insider’s Playbook for Making a Fortune on Wall Street” in 2023.

Where is Jordan Belfort now?

The end of the movie touched slightly on what Belfort is up to today. A lot of his time is spent giving motivational speeches.

He released another book in 2017 titled “Way of the Wolf: Straight Line Selling: Master the Art of Persuasion, Influence, and Success,” in addition to his first two books, “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2007) and “Catching the Wolf of Wall Street” (2009). His latest book, “The Wolf of Investing: My Insider’s Playbook for Making a Fortune on Wall Street,” was published in 2023.

2. ‘Erin Brockovich’ – Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich evolved as an unlikely hero in her own story. She played a large role in the case of Anderson v. Pacific Gas & Electric, a case settled for $333 million dollars.

Julia Roberts plays Brockovich in the 2000 movie titled “Erin Brockovich.” She won an Oscar as the leading lady of the film.

The movie was also nominated for Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Best Director (Steven Soderbergh), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Finney) and Best Picture.

Erin Brockovich speaking into microphone

Erin Brockovich continues to be an activist for clean water today. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group via Getty Images/File)

Where is Erin Brockovich now?

Today, Brockovich continues to be an activist for clean water. She penned the book “Superman’s Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It” in 2020, and she also founded the Erin Brockovich Foundation.

“I can tell you, since that film came out, I haven’t stopped doing what I’ve been doing,” Brockovich told “Today” in 2020. “I think the past 20 years in many ways have been baffling to me, because if we go back to the town of Hinkley, California, in the movie, that was just the tip of the iceberg. And I don’t think I realized what was to come, and to have this conversation with you 20 years into the future to say that it’s not just as bad, it’s far worse. And so little has been done. I couldn’t really see then that it would be everywhere.” 

3. ‘Catch Me If You Can’ – Frank Abagnale Jr. 

“Catch Me If You Can” stars DiCaprio as a famous check forger, Frank Abagnale Jr., who is on the run from the FBI.

Most of the crimes committed by Abagnale were between the ages of 15 and 21, according to Crime Museum.

Christopher Walken was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for the 2002 movie, where he played Frank Abagnale Sr., and John Williams was nominated for Best Music, Original Score.


Leonardo DiCaprio in "Catch Me If You Can"

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale Jr. in “Catch Me If You Can.” (Diane L. Cohen/Getty Images/File)

Where is Frank Abagnale Jr. now?

Following his release from prison, Abagnale became an FBI consultant and lecturer, according to Crime Museum. 

He also opened his own private financial fraud company called Abagnale & Associates, according to the source. 

“Frank W. Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on the subjects of forgery, embezzlement and secure documents,” reads Abagnale’s official website. “Mr. Abagnale has been associated with the FBI for over four decades.”

4. ‘The Big Short’ – Michael Burry 

The 2015 movie “The Big Short” is about Michael Burry, the investor and hedge fund manager who predicted the 2008 stock market crash. Christian Bale stars as Burry in the film. 

The movie also includes “The Office” actor Steve Carell, “Barbie” actor Ryan Gosling and “Babylon” actor Brad Pitt.

“The Big Short” was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, and won for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay.

Where is Michael Burry now?

Today, Burry is still investing. He shut down Scion Capital in 2008 and started Scion Asset Management, LLC in 2013, which he continues to run today from Saratoga, California.

The official Scion website includes no information and simply refers interested parties to an email address. The private investment firm’s LinkedIn is also bare, but includes a company size of 2-10 employees.

5. ‘Molly’s Game’ – Molly Bloom 

Molly Bloom ran an underground poker empire involving several Hollywood elites. In 2014, she was convicted for the illegal gambling operation that she was running. Bloom moved the operation, which started in Los Angeles, to New York City to cater to Wall Street.

After she was roughed up one night in NYC, she decided to give up poker for her own safety. Bloom was the only woman charged in the underworld gambling case.

The 2017 movie “Molly’s Game” tells Bloom’s story, based on her 2014 memoir.

Bloom is played by Jessica Chastain in the Oscar-nominated film for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Molly Bloom at "Molly's Game" premiere

Molly Bloom ran an illegal gambling operation. A movie was made about her poker empire in 2014. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images/File)

Where is Molly Bloom now?

Today, Bloom is mother to baby girl Fiona, who was born in February 2022. 


She also hosted the podcast “Torched” in 2022 where she focused on Olympians and Olympic sports.

She discussed women in sports, betting, mental health and more. She interviewed her brother, Jeremy Bloom, who is a former NFL player and two-time Olympic skier and gold medalist Kaillie Humphries.

The podcast ran for two seasons.

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