Visual Effects Society Awards preview: Oscar frontrunner ‘Dune’ faces three rivals here first

No surprise that “Dune” leads among the nominees for the Visual Effects Society Awards. After all, it is the clear frontrunner for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars. It contends in the VES equivalent of the Best Picture race — visual effects in a feature motion picture — plus five other categories.

Also in competition for the top VES award are three of its rivals for the Oscar: “No Time to Die,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” That race is rounded out by “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “The Matrix Resurrections.” Each of those films had made the top 10 contenders at the academy but failed to make the final five.

The fifth Oscar nominee for Best Visual Effects, “Free Guy,” was snubbed by the VES as was another of the Oscar semi-finalists, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” The other two Oscar semi-finalists — “Black Widow” and “Eternals” — contend in other VES categories.

The animated feature nominees are: “Encanto,” “Luca,” “The Mitchells vs. The Machines,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Sing 2.”

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Nominees in 25 categories were selected by VES members via virtual events hosted by 10 sections, including Australia, Bay Area, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. The VES Awards will be held via a virtual ceremony on March 8.

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