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15 Finalists for Best Visual Effects Category

Just as it did with Best Documentary, and likely will do for Best Makeup, the Academy has shortlisted a selection of 15 finalists that will go on to compete for nominations in the Best Visual Effects category. Unlike last year, in which this category was gift-wrapped for “Inception” from the moment the flick appeared in theaters, 2011 features an assortment of talent that will likely produce some actual competition for the gold.

The following films are on the VFX shortlist:

“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
“Hugo”
“Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol”
“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”
“Sucker Punch”
“Super 8″
“Thor”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“The Tree of Life”
“X-Men: First Class”

While the field is more competitive this year, it’s difficult not to give frontrunner status to “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Not only did the quality of the film itself utterly drive over everyone’s expectations, but the visual effects are quite astounding. While most buzz around this film is directed towards Andy Serkis’ fine performance, folks can’t forget that he was only half responsible for the character of Ceasar. If the VFX hadn’t been spot on, the film never would have been held in such high esteem.

Perhaps “Apes” biggest competition comes from a duo of films that I have chosen to call the attack of the “H”s, if only for my own amusement. The Harry Potter franchise has already been nominated in this category twice before (while many probably believe that number should be greater). There might be a bit of overdue status surrounding “Deathly Hollows: Part 2” and many voters may find this the best place to honor it. Mostly because the film’s other competitive category of Art Direction will likely get taken down by the other “H” that is Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo.” The 3D effect-ridden world of said film may sway voters towards a win, but people may see through the CGI and remember only the design of it all.

 

One film that I finally viewed recently and really hope makes a splash here is “X-Men: First Class” only the mutant effects, but practically everything featured in the film’s final thirty minutes is more than deserving of a nomination. It will have a tough time outing any of the category’s big guns, though.

From this list, I’d say that the field will probably look something like this:

1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
2. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2”
3. “Hugo”
4. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
5. “Super 8”

Alt 1: “X-Men:  First Class”
Alt 2: “Real Steel”

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