The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its list of 15 semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 81st Academy Awards, with Industrial Light & Magic getting three contenders: IRON MAN, INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL and THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (along with Tippett Studio). Other anticipated contenders include THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Digital Domain, Lola/Hydraulx, Asylum and Matte World Digital), THE DARK KNIGHT (Double Negative, Framestore) and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (Weta Digital, Cinesite).
What didn't make the list? SPEED RACER, WALL-E, THE SPIRIT and WANTED. Thus, in the case of the first three omissions, next-gen and animation still have an uphill battle with the Academy's Visual Effects branch executive committee.
The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON
THE DARK KNIGHT
THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL
HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY
THE INCREDIBLE HULK
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH
THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR
QUANTUM OF SOLACE
THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES
In early January, the members of the Academy's Visual Effects branch executive committee, who voted the semifinalists, will narrow the list to seven.
On Jan. 15, all members of the Visual Effects branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.
The 81st Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan. 22, 2009, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2008 will be presented Feb. 22, 2009, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.