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While we can't always count on a major genre film to take home Oscars like Best Picture or Best Director, genre cinema has often dominated the technical categories at the Academy Awards, where achievement in film crafts like costume design, sound design, and of course visual effects are lauded for their abilities to transport us to other worlds.
This year is no different, as the shortlist for this year's Best Visual Effects Oscar showed. The Playlist reported this week that several major sci-fi and fantasy releases this year made the shortlist on their way to a potential nomination for the coveted statuette, so let's take a closer look at the contenders and see where this might be headed before the ceremony early next year.
The short list films for the Best Visual Effects Oscar include some non-genre films with major visual transformations to tackle, like All Quiet on the Western Front and its depiction of World War I France, and Thirteen Lives for its recreation of the 2018 Thailand cave rescue. Top Gun: Maverick, while not strictly a sci-fi film, has sort of been adopted by the genre community thanks to its high-flying action, and it's also a top contender in the visual efffects category this time out.
Then there are the genre films. James Cameron's long-awaited oceanic exploration Avatar: The Way of Water made the list, as did Jordan Peele's alien spectacle Nope and Colin Trevorrow's dinosaur trilogy capper Jurassic World Dominion. Comic book movies were also a big presence, as Warner Bros. landed a nod for the rendering of Gotham City in The Batman, and Marvel Studios picked up two potential nominations for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Warner Bros. also has one more contender in its latest Wizarding World adventure: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.
The list will be cut in half next month when the Academy announces the official Oscar nominees for the best film achievements of 2022, and it'll be interesting to see which films make that final cut. Major players like Avatar and Black Panther feel like no-brainers, but visual effects aren't strictly a genre cinema achievement, so don't be surprised if another film slips into the nominations.
If you're looking to catch up on NOPE and Jurassic World Dominion, they're both streaming now on Peacock.