The Academy has named ten films finalists for the visual effects Oscar and now the branch members will screen 10 minute clip packages from each film and make their selections. Half of these films recede into the ether and the other half enters the history books as "Oscar Nominated" on January 16th, 2014.
- The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
- Iron Man 3
- The Lone Ranger
- Pacific Rim
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- Thor: The Dark World
- World War Z
I am clearly not adept at predicting the finalists because two of the film's I had actually predicted for nominations did not even make the list: say goodbye to the Man of Steel and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Other films that Oscar won't even be considering now for this prize include: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Conjuring and The Wolverine.
Each of the ten films listed above will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff to the branch. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell but it might be too steep a wall for World War Z to scale since Oscar doesn't like zombie flicks (in any category) and a bridge too far for Thor since he wasn't nominated last time around. Franchise history suggests that the crews on Iron Man 3 and The Hobbit can start fitting their tuxes. If we still had only 3 nominees in this category the nominees would be Gravity, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. Which means there are essentially only two spots open. Any combo of the others seems possible which means we'll soon be haunted by this agonizing possibility: will The Lone Ranger be forevermore referred to as 'The Oscar-nominated The Lone Ranger'?)
A final tangential thought: I'm glad that we don't have bakeoffs and "showreels" for acting categories. Could you imagine? Not that greatest hits clips aren't how some people experience the acting nominees in the age of YouTube but you can't properly judge a whole unless you've seen all the parts. Even the lesser parts. Each of these ten films will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell.