Shortlist for visual effects Oscar

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Award times is coming closer.

Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” and Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo” are among 15 films that have made the initial cut in the competition for a visual effects Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday. The 15 films were chosen by the academy’s visual effects branch executive committee.

In early January, the members of the visual effects branch executive committee will further narrow the list to 10. All members of the visual effects branch will then be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from the 10 shortlisted films on Thursday, Jan. 19. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

The initial 15 films include big-spectacle features including Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: The First Avenger,” “X-Men: First Class” and “Thor.” Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys & Aliens” and the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” are also included.

In addition to the more artful fare, Oscar hopeful “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” was also selected.

The yet-to-be-released “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” made the cut too. And, rounding out the 15 films are “Real Steel,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “Sucker Punch” and “Super 8.”

The Academy Award nominations will be announced on Jan. 24.

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