‘The Tree of Life’ on Oscars shortlist for Best Visual Effects

The Oscar race for Best Visual Effects is underway. Fifteen films have been selected by the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee and in January they will narrow the list to 10. Then, all visual effects branch members will have the opportunity to view 10-minute excerpts from these shortlisted works to determine the five films that make the Oscar ballot.

The breathtaking birth of the universe shown in arthouse favorite “The Tree of Life” is up against the blockbuster robots in “Real Steel” — which Gold Derby discussed as a Visual Effects contender back in October. Two period dramas — “Hugo” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” — might surprise.

Seven flicks on the shortlist are sequels, prequels or reboots. Among those is “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” which saw its earlier entries “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” (2010) and “Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004) on the ballot. All three of the “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” predecessors — “The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2003), “Dead Man’s Chest” (2006) and “At World’s End” (2007) — were nominated with “Dead Man’s Chest” winning. “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” could break in after “Revenge of the Fallen” (2009) was snubbed for its effects; the first “Transformers” (2007) was nodded.

The full list is as follows:

“Captain America: The First Avenger”
“Cowboys & Aliens”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
“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
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
The Tree of Life
“X-Men: First Class”

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