Oscars: 'Star Wars,' 'Mad Max' and 8 Other Titles Advance in VFX Race

Star Wars the Force Awakens New 3 - H 2015
Courtesy of Lucasfilm

Five nominees will be chosen from the shortlist of 10 films.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World and Avengers: Age of Ultron are among the 10 films that have advanced in this year's Oscar race for best visual effects, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Monday. Rounding out the list are Ant-Man, Ex Machina, The Martian, The Revenant, Tomorrowland and The Walk.

The current list was drawn from an earlier, preliminary list of 20 films under consideration, chosen by the visual effects branch executive committee. The 10 films that did not make the cut as the preliminary list was whittled down to the new shortlist were Bridge of Spies, Chappie, Everest, Furious 7, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, In the Heart of the Sea, Jupiter Ascending, Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation, Spectre and Terminator Genisys.

The current list is heavy on films with futuristic, fantasy and/or sci-fi elements. Only two of the movies on the list are set in the "real" world: The Revenant, about a 19th century trapper's struggle to survive, and The Walk, about Philippe Petit's 1974 walk between the two Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. 

In terms of precedent, it could be a very competitive contest: The original 1977 Star Wars won the visual effects Oscar in its day, and 1993's Jurassic Park also took home the visual effects Oscar.

Visual-effects house ILM has a big footprint in the contest, having contributed visual effects to Ant-Man, Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Revenant, Force Awakens and Tomorrowland.

To determine the nominations, members of the visual effects branch will view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Jan. 9, and following the screenings, members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.

Nominations for the 88th annual Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 14, and the Oscar ceremony will be held on Feb. 28.