Hmm, I guess that means we won't have our standard list of 7 finalists like we've had since 1995. That being said, I wonder if we'll still have our 15 semi finalists list come out. If so, I'd like to take a stab at predicting those (the technical categories are always so much fun. All of the pomp and circumstance, none of the drama, outside the whole ongoing Kevin O'Connell drama):
- The A-Team: I know, I'm speaking blasphemy, but do consider that this movie has previous Oscar winner Bill Westenhofer (& Rhythm & Hues) behind it's effects, along with 2012 SFX supervisor Mike Vezina.
- Alice In Wonderland: A no-brainer, but previous winners Craig Barron and Michael Lantieri might be enough to help this one be remembered.
- Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore: Okay, at least one surprise kiddie film nominee makes the list each year (The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Water Horse, etc) and the original was even one of 2001's finalists. Will it be dismissible and probably forgotten by the end of the year? No doubt. Does that matter in the world of Visual Effects? Not unless your rendering wasn't impressive.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: This one will sneak in, regardless of box office success or not, if only on the pedigree of the series' name. However, imdb isn't listing any major names in terms of VFX supervisors, so I'm not expecting it to sneak in the final five.
- Clash of the Titans: Yeah, yeah, it was bad, but the FX team of Nick Davis, Rob Harvey and Neil Corbould will be enough for it to make it on the semi-finalist list at least.
- Gulliver's Travels: I know, this movie is barely a blip on the winter release radar. Didn't stop Night at the Museum from sneaking into the finalist list in 2006 (that and a disappointing line-up of studio driven FX films). That and with WETA guru Jim Rygiel behind it, Travels is probably a safe bet for this spot.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I: There's really no arguments as to why this won't be in the final five. Not to mention, we'll probably be hearing the name Paul J. Franklin (The Dark Knight) twice this year, also for...
- Inception: Again, Paul J. Franklin's team (along with SFX Supervisor Chris Corbould) is the film that probably has the best chance at getting a Best Picture nod here, so it's slot in the final 5 is a guarantee, if not already a winner.
- Iron Man 2: While this one didn't quite live up to the entertaining factor of the first movie, the effects were still wall to wall and still pretty impressive. Tack onto that the FX team of Janek Sirrs, Edson Williams and Daniel Sudick, it seems pretty safe that it'll be in the final five.
- The Last Airbender: Okay, get the bile out of your throat, the only reason this is on the list is because it's a major ILM production and still a summer film. It's probably a safe semi-finalist, but don't expect a single nomination for this global-wide disappointment.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief: Kevin Scott Mack (What Dreams May Come) supervises the team behind this fairly big spring film. It may slide in here, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was upseated.
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: Sure, it was a bomb, but it had sand. Lots and lots of CG sand blowing every which way. It's the kind of FX that techie geeks love, so it's guaranteed to be a semi-finalist.
- The Sorcerer's Apprentice: So is that other Jerry Bruckheimer bomb. Highly revered previous winners John Nelson and John Fraiser headed the team for this film, but making it into the final five is pretty doubtful.
- Tron: Legacy: Now, here, we have to see how successful this film will be. Once that's determined, it'll gauge how influential it'll be with the nominations, which could get into the Sound Mixing (of which the original was nominated) & Sound Effects also. Also, having passed up the original's effects back in 1982 (when there also should have been five nominees), this could be it's way into the final five.
- The Wolfman: Okay, here's another spring time bomb that may not be remembered come nomination time, but the work done by Rick Baker and his team may be able to stretch (no pun intended) further than just a Best Make-Up consideration.
"You are what you love, not what loves you." - Nicholas Cage; Adaptation