And then there were 10. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has narrowed the field of contendors for the Visual Effects Oscar one final time before nominations are announced, to a final slate of 10 films.

Are there surprises on the list? Sort of. Arrival wasn't really touted as a big VFX picture — director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario, Enemy) certainly isn't known as a VFX director, though this film and his upcoming Blade Runner sequel may change that — but when it actually showed up on screens it was clear that the photoreal alien effects, especially, were something special. Visual effects have become a more important component of stop-motion animation over the years, and Kubo and the Two Strings is now one step closer to earning an Oscar nomination to prove it. And the VFX-heavy Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, is getting noticed for its use of practical effects in concert with CG embellishments.


The remaining films will participate in the VFX bake-off January 7, during which members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch view 10-minute excerpts of each film before convening to vote on the final five nominations.

Our best guess? The Oscar already belongs to The Jungle Book. But it would still be exciting to be proven wrong.

Here are the 10 films on the shortlist, in alphabetical order.

Captain America: Civil War
Deepwater Horizon
Doctor Strange
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story