The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released the names of the 7 finalist in the Visual Effects category. As you might remember, the Academy narrowed the list to 15 back on December 12, and have narrowed it further. On Thursday, January 15, all members of the Academy’s 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 final seven films that will compete for the three spots are as follows, in alphabetical order:

  • Australia
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Dark Knight
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army
  • Iron Man
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Personally I am glad to see movies such as Hancock and The Day the Earth Stood Still get dropped off the list, though I would have liked to see the Academy keep The Incredible Hulk in the lineup. And as much as this may ruffle some feathers with the natives, but my personal pick in the category (of the films remaining) is Benjamin Button. Sure, The Dark Knight was a great film, but there was no visual effect in any of these other movies quite like the one David Fincher and team did in making Brad Pitt into a shriveled old man.

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.

Which film would get your vote for Best Visual Effects?

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