Avatar, Trek, District 9, other sci-fi hits vie for F/X Oscar

No surprises here, but the people who pick the Oscars officially winnowed the list of potential visual-effects nominees down to seven today, including most of the major sci-fi/fantasy blockbusters of 2009. Check out the full list below.

Who do you think should win? Our betting is on Avatar, though we think District 9's seamless integration of digital effects and gritty reality makes it worthy as well.

Here's the official announcement.

Beverly Hills, CA (January 6, 2010) -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

* "Avatar"
* "District 9"
* "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
* "Star Trek"
* "Terminator Salvation"
* "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
* "2012"

On Thursday, January 21, all members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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