The Best Visual Effects category at the Oscars is always fun if you're looking for some attention for your favorite summer blockbuster-- while no Transformers movie will probably ever be nominated for Best Picture (sorry, Michael Bay), the first was nominated for Best Visual Effects, and previous winners include Spider-Man 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and The Matrix. This year's lineup is set to include the usual big summer movies, but based on the shortlist of 10 eligible films recently released by the Academy (via LA Times), there will be some highbrow competition in there too. Here are the 10 films, from which voters will nominate five films for the Oscar.

Captain America: The First Avenger
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Hugo
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Real Steel
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
The Tree of Life
X-Men: First Class

You never quite can predict how the technical nominations will turn out- after all, The Golden Compass of all things beat out Transformers for that win-- but it's hard to imagine that the motion-capture genius of Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the dizzying nature photography of The Tree of LIfe won't make the cut. From there, you have to make some hard decision. Is emaciated little Steve Rogers in Captain America more impressive than the Autobot destruction of Chicago? Since Harry Potter isn't looking likely for a Best Picture nomination maybe it should be nominated here and win the whole thing by default? The battle lines are being drawn now, so start making your picks now-- if you were at the multiplex every weekend this summer, you have found the one Oscar category where you have a real leg up.
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