And the Best Visual Effects contenders are whittled down to ten, with the year’s best science fiction and action films filling the category. The obvious film to beat is “Gravity” and with the praise parade continuing for that film, it may have the closest thing to a lock before the nominations are announced. The film heavily relies on visual effects and does so in such an intriguing way that no other visual effects heavy film can really compare. Plus, the box office for “Gravity” is undeniable. Add on a potential run for Best Picture and Best Director and taking Visual Effects is almost a guarantee.

The rest of the category is anyone’s guess. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” as nominated last year, so a strong bet for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is very safe. Another strong guess would be for “Iron Man 3” whose ability to display a plane falling out of the sky and Tony Stark’s mansion being destroyed, paired with the biggest box office weekend of the year, puts it as an obvious frontrunner. The first J.J. Abram “Star Trek” was nominated for Best Visual Effects in 2010, so placing “Star Trek Into Darkness” in the mix is another safe bet. The fifth spot is a little tougher to pick. Personally, I’ll be placing “Pacific Rim” in the final slot, because the technology to make giant creatures and robots battle on such an epic scale (i.e. “Transformers”) is always commendable. Also, never count out the Guillermo Del Toro factor. If I were to name a close second for the final spot, it’d be “Oblivion” which was also one of my favorite films this year, and with Tom Cruise at the helm, was seen by many people.

Unless the Academy is feeling generous, do not expect to see “Elysium” or “The Lone Ranger” nominated, as they films somewhat fell off in critic and general public appeal. “World War Z” and “Thor: The Dark World” were in no way hated upon, but neither scream Best Visual Effects, so I’d be fairly surprised to see them land a nomination. Some notable films missing from the list include “Man Of Steel” which is a huge shocker and would have been my fifth slot pick had it made the shortlist. Also, “Ender’s Game”, “Fast and Furious 6”, and “Rush” all lost before they even had a chance, unfortunately. Although none of these had what it takes to take down “Gravity” as the number one pick.

  • “Elysium”
  • “Gravity”
  • “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”
  • “Iron Man 3”
  • “The Lone Ranger”
  • “Oblivion”
  • “Pacific Rim”
  • “Star Trek Into Darkness”
  • “Thor: The Dark World”
  • “World War Z”

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