The Academy's visual effects branch exec committee met last night to narrow the list of 15 contenders down to seven for the Jan. 20 bakeoff.
In alphabetical order, here's the shortlist:
ALICE IN WONDERLANDHARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1HEREAFTERINCEPTIONIRON MAN 2SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLDTRON: LEGACY
The biggest surprise was the trippy SCOTT PILGRIM beating out THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER. A milder surprise was HEREAFTER, which boasts Scanline's opening tsunami.
All members of the visual effects branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films at the bakeoff. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.
The favorites are: ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1, INCEPTION, IRON MAN 2 and TRON: LEGACY. Then it'll be up to the entire Academy to decide the Oscar winner.
The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Jan. 25 at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre.