And now there are 10 — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today narrowed the competitive field for this year's VFX Oscar to just 10 films, announcing the slate that was decided upon by the Academy's Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee.

Gravity, of course, is the film to beat. Alfonso Cuaron's SF film hit the trifecta: it advances truly groundbreaking production techniques, has had a massive success at the box-office, and has enjoyed near-unanimous critical acclaim. It's one of those rare "VFX films" that seems destined to be a serious contender in many of the top Oscar categories.

The Lone Ranger hasn't been as lucky — it was considered a commercial and critical dud on its release this summer — but the Academy has recognized its VFX achievements. And World War Z, with its famously troubled production history, is also in the running for the VFX prize. And the biggest snub must surely go to Man of Steel, which seems to have qualified as Oscar Kryptonite. And what about Ender's Game, Digital Domain's big bid for an ownership stake in its own work? 

Here is the full list of titles in contention:

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness
Thor: The Dark World
Pacific Rim
World War Z 

The VFX bake-off takes place on January 9, when the VFX Branch will gather to view presentations by the individual VFX teams, a week before the final five nominees are announced, on January 16.