The Hollywood Reporter gives a somewhat surprising shortlist for the best visual effects Oscar this year, with some startling inclusions and some even more startling omissions. The shortlist of 7 movies, whittled down from an original list of 15, includes The Bourne Ultimatum, Evan Almighty, The Golden Compass, I Am Legend, 300, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, but excludes the previously thought of automatic inclusion performance-capture movie, Beowulf.

A surprising amount of sequels grace this year’s list, with 3 in the running, not to mention the trilogy opener, The Golden Compass getting a nod, but as pointed out by The Hollywood Reporter, sequels have it tough when attempting to place in this list, “especially if the (key) breakthrough work happened in the movie before.” For example, Spider-Man 2 was not only shortlisted in 2005 but was nominated for the award, similar to Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest, however unlike the Pirates saga, the closing chapter to Spidey has not received a nod for effects this year. In the same vein, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is the first Potter movie not to be shortlisted in this category, the previous four all having received at least a place on the the short list.

The final decision on official nominees for this year’s effects Oscar will be announced on January 22nd, after the members of the Acadamy’s visual effects branch have viewed a 15 minute excerpt from each candidate and entered their vote.

Talking Point: In your opinion, which of these 7 should win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects?


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