Feast your eyes on the 10 movies that'll vie for the VFX Oscar

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Dec 6, 2013, 6:06 PM EST

It was a big year for special effects at the movies. Putting aside the fact that just about every film incorporates some element of CGI these days, 2013 saw a slew of big-budget efforts intended to make your eyeballs explode. Five of those features will end up nominated for the Best Visual Effects Oscar come March 2, 2014, but just to get the hype ball rolling, the Academy has released the list of the 10 entries that'll vie for a spot at the big dance.

Check them out below, along with some thoughts on who's in, who's out and who's going to take home the statuette.


Alfonso Cuaron's stunning effort has to be the front-runner, given that it looked so good, one reporter asked the director what it was like to shoot in space.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Word around Weathertop is that Smaug is the best big-screen dragon ever realized. Take that, Draco!

Pacific Rim

Because it's nice when the giant robot/giant monster fights are shot in such a way that you can actually keep track of what's happening.


Actually had a surprising number of in-camera effects for a big-budget would-be blockbuster - the projected sky-scapes were gorgeous.

Iron Man 3

This one's actually a little bit of an underdog, given the competition, this year, but both previous Iron Man flicks have garnered nominations.

World War Z

Nothing says Oscar gold like a swarm of CGI zombies running in unison.

Star Trek Into Darkness

If lens flare counts as a special effect, STiD should win in a walk. 

Thor: The Dark World

Tom Hiddleston's charisma is the best special effect in this movie, but the superheroics looked pretty boss, too.


Another great example of trying to keep things as in-camera as possible, including a lot of miniature work on the Elysium ring station.

The Lone Ranger

Probably the biggest surprise on the list, given that Disney's attempted reimagining was critically panned and totally bombed ... but, wow, that train crash.

Notable omissions:

The big deal here is that Man of Steel's not on the list, seeing as it was one of the most VFX-heavy releases this year (even Zod's costuming was CGI). It's also a little surprising not to see The Great Gatsby show up, as much of Baz Luhrman's melodrama was digitally generated. And while it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's also a bit of a shock not to find the almost-entirely-CGI Oz the Great and Powerful represented.

Who'll Win:

Barring a major upset, Gravity should take the top prize, given that its look was the biggest part of what made it such a smash commercial and critical hit.

Who's not there who should be? Who's in who shouldn't be? And which films will take the five nominee slots? Let us know what you think!