Visual Effects Oscar Category Narrowed Down to 10 Choices; Contenders Include HARRY POTTER, CAPTAIN AMERICA, and THE TREE OF LIFE

     January 4, 2012


We’re just a little less than two months away from the 84th Annual Academy Awards, and today the choices in yet another category have been pared down. AMPAS announced today that 10 films remain in contention for the Best Visual Effects award, with films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, Hugo, and The Tree of Life making the cut. The pretty clear frontrunner in this race is Rise of the Planet of the Apes (and rightfully so), but there’s much to admire in the 10 films that have been shortlisted.

Though Terrence Malick’s existential drama The Tree of Life is heavy on the naturalistic visuals, the extended “history of the universe” sequence is gloriously enchanting and features some breathtaking visual effects work (dinosaurs!), so I’m happy to see that it hasn’t been overlooked. All members of the Academy’s visual effects branch will view 10-minute excerpts from each of the 10 shortlisted films, after which they’ll vote to nominate five pics for the Academy Award. Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes all 10 singled-out films. The Oscars will be presented on February 26th.

rise-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-movie-image-03Here’s the full press release:

Beverly Hills, CA (January 4, 2012) – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 84th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • “Captain America: The First Avenger”
  • “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”
  • “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
  • “The Tree of Life”
  • “X-Men: First Class”

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the 10 shortlisted films on Thursday, January 19. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.


  • Sam

    I cannot believe they left Thor off the shortlist… Asgard was the most beautiful CGI I’ve ever seen.

  • L.

    I’m betting on

    “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2″
    “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
    “Real Steel”
    “The Tree of Life”

    even though I would love to see M:I there.

  • Mark

    No doubt as to which film is going to win this award. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” has this award wrapped up.

  • Leo

    Wheres the Love for the Big Ass robots blowing the living shit out of all each other in glorious 3D explosions. The story might not be so good, but for fucks Sake, I almost orgasmed watching the damn thing.

    • ipolos

      Transformers had awesome effects, no doubt. But Rise accomplished something much greater with its effects. They made you care about an ape, and he overshadowed any other character in the movie. Plus, this was the third transformers movie, so the effects have kinda lost their wow factor by now, but again, TF3 had impeccable effects, but this is a case where Rise already has the award in the bag…

  • Ruserious

    I really hope not.

    The technical achivements in DOTM far surpass the limp attempt by weta to create believable cg. The PERFORMANCE and subsequent ANIMATION were good but not seamless, where as DOTM placed almost every robot in the scene, rebuilt buildings and created digital human doubles which had to be put together in STEREO.

    I agree, Apes is the likely candidate from a popularity standpoint, but Transformers is head and shoulders above the competition.

    In reality, the winner will be Hugo, because it is a love letter to hollywood, its past, and a nod to the history of special effects and film.

    But transformers is by far, the most technically impressive. the apes still looked terribly fake.

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