Prequels, sequels and other franchise films dominate the preliminary list of achievements eligible for a VFX Oscar this year, released today by the executive committee of the visual effects branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

A scene from Aquaman

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures; © 2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment

Marvel Studios remains the company to beat, with no fewer than three titles in contention for VFX honors, including Ant-Man and the WaspAvengers: Infinity War and Black PantherAquaman will represent the DC universe in the VFX scrum.

A scene from Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2
Walt Disney Studios

The biggest surprise in the line-up may be the presence of Pixar film Incredibles 2; we couldn’t find any past examples of a CG-animated feature making it onto the preliminary list. Stop-motion animated Isle of Dogs is also under consideration this year, as was Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings two years ago.


Paramount Pictures

This list of films will be culled to a 10-film shortlist, all of which will be invited to the annual VFX bake-off, where Academy members see presentations from the VFX teams behind each film showing the work that went into each effort. That list will be further culled to a final five nominated films in time for the official announcement, which is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22.

Here’s the full list of 20 films, in alphabetical order.

Ant-Man and the Wasp
Avengers: Infinity War
Black Panther
Christopher Robin
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
First Man
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Mary Poppins Returns
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Mortal Engines
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms
Paddington 2
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
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Some VFX-rich box-office hits that didn’t make the cut include Pacific Rim Uprising, Rampage, Deadpool 2, The Meg and Venom.