Shortlist announced for visual effects Oscar

'Avatar,' 'Star Trek,' 'Harry Potter' among 15 semifinalists

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Fifteen films will vie as semifinalists in the race for the best visual effects Oscar.

They are: "Angels & Demons," "Avatar," "Coraline," "Disney's a Christmas Carol," "District 9," "G-Force," "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra," "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," "Sherlock Holmes," "Star Trek," "Terminator Salvation," "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," "2012," "Watchmen" and "Where the Wild Things Are."

In early January, the members of the Academy's visual effects branch executive committee, who selected the semifinalists, will whittle down the contenders to a shortlist of seven.

All members of the branch will then be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Jan. 21. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

Nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards will be announced on Feb. 2.