It would appear that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is all about announcements today. First came word that Hugh Jackman was being tapped to host the show, and now we find out the names of the 15 finalists for the Best Visual Effects award. They are as follows:

  • Australia
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
  • Cloverfield
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Hancock
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • Iron Man
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
  • Quantum of Solace
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles

In early January, the members of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee, who voted the semifinalists, will narrow the list to seven.

On Thursday, January 15, all members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 81st Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

And now, a few thoughts from yours truly: I would knock one shitburger off the list right away, The Day the Earth Stood Still. The effects in that movie have no business being regarding alongside films such as Iron Man or Iron Man. That said, my pick this year would be The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When you see it, you’ll know what I mean.

Which of these films would you pick for the Best Visual Effects Oscar? Also, are there any films that you feel were left off the list?

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