Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its list of the twenty films that will be competing for the visual effects Oscar come February.
In a year that saw groundbreaking technology take center stage at the movies, the most buzz was generated by an ailurophobic internet when the first Cats trailer was released. More shrieks followed when a second trailer rolled in like a hairball of nightmarish proportions. It didn’t bother me any; it’s the internet we’re talking about here.
And yet, Cats is one of the films on the short list for the coveted gold statue. Less surprising are many of the other entries, like Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far from Home, and the stunning 1917.
We might have some controversy on the horizon should Gemini Man or The Irishman win—the two films that used new de-aging effects to cast older stars as their younger selves. Watching 75-year-old De Niro playing a 35-year-old De Niro is a distracting quality in an otherwise great movie. He looks like what you’d imagine him to have looked like then, if you didn’t know what he looked like then. The fact is, he didn’t look like that. And he moves and fights like an old man, which is something Gemini Man avoided by using another actor to perform much of the more intense physicality. No matter the best way to do it, it looks to be a sign of things to come, whether we like it or not.
Here’s a list of the twenty movies in the running, listed alphabetically:
Alita: Battle Angel
Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw
Ford v Ferrari
Jumanji: The Next Level
The Lion King
Men in Black: International
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate
Twenty will be narrowed to ten later in the month by the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee. Those films will then qualify for nominations voting. On January 13, the official nominees will be announced.
The 92nd annual Academy Awards will be held on February 9 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater.