The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its 10 finalists for visual effects for the 86th Oscars: Elysium Gravity, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, Thor: The Dark World, Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures Pacific Rim, and World War Z.

The Academy reports “The Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee determined the shortlist. All members of the Visual Effects Branch will now be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Thursday, January 9, 2014. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration. Oscars nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.”

The front-runner, by miles, is Gravity. One look at this clip will tell you why:

Second on this list, to me, is Pacific Rim. This is the best presentation of giant robots and monsters yet. But what is most impressive is how the size, mass, and movement of the robots in the Legendary Pictures movie seemed real. Have a look:

Star Trek: Into Darkness is number three. There are a number of well-done scenes, but the one that stands out is the John Harrison attack during the opening sequence:

The obvious movie left off the list is Man Of Steel, and that was noted again, and again in social media. Here’s a sample:

Ok, I went to see Man Of Steel for the special effects (who didn’t?) and I have to say I found them quite good – particularly the oil rig and the final battle scene. The vfx for Man Of Steel were certainly the equal of Iron Man 3, and that work was very good. No, the effects weren’t the best ever – and what was so cool about both Gravity and Pacific Rim is they did the best jobs of making believable worlds, with Gravity head and shoulders above all others – but they didn’t seem to drag the Superman Origin movie out of Oscar contention, yet that’s exactly what happened.

Speculation abounds. Some say it was the destructive fight scenes – but that doesn’t make a bit of sense at all. Look:

If it’s well done, and it was, it should be rewarded.

Another movie that missed the cut is the less celebrated The Wolverine. Now in this movie, the fight scenes looked at times like a green screen was used, and that was obvious in the commercials. Placed up against this murder’s row of VFX Oscar contenders and its easy to see how The Wolverine missed.

But Man Of Steel? That’s another story. A head scratcher. If Man Of Steel can’t even cut it in the area one would think it would do best, then that pretty much spells curtains for all other Oscar categories the movie could hope to complete in.

Stay tuned.

By Zennie Abraham

Zennie Abraham | Zennie Abraham or "Zennie62" is the founder of Zennie62Media which consists of and a multimedia blog news aggregator and video network, and 78-blog network, with social media and content development services and consulting. Zennie is a pioneer video blogger, YouTube Partner, social media practitioner, game developer, and pundit. Note: news aggregator content does not reflect the personal views of Mr. Abraham.