Oscar's VFX shortlist goes 3-D

'Journey' will vie with 'Dark Knight,' 'Iron Man'

The backwards-aging Benjamin Button, Batman and Iron Man are in, but Indiana Jones and James Bond are out as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the shortlist of seven films that will vie for the visual effects Oscar at the 81st Annual Academy Awards.

For the first time in its history, the list, announced Tuesday, includes a 3-D movie, "Journey to the Center of the Earth," Eric Brevig's live-action reworking of the Jules Verne classic.

The seven titles that will vie for one of three available nominations include year-end arrivals "Australia" and "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" as well as summer popcorn movies "Journey," "The Dark Knight," "Hellboy II: The Golden Army," "Iron Man" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor."

Eight other titles on December's list of 15 semifinalists failed to make the cut: "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian," "Cloverfield," "The Day the Earth Stood Still," "Hancock," "The Incredible Hulk," "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," "Quantum of Solace" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles."

On Jan. 15, members of the Academy's visual effects branch will view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films at the category's annual bake-off. The "Journey" excerpt will screen in 3-D at the event at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The nominations will be announced Jan. 22. The 81st Academy Awards are Feb. 22 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.