7 pix set to vie for 3 Oscar f/x noms

Seven semi-finalists have been selected for the visual effects Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ visual effects steering committee.

Of the seven, three will be nominated for an Academy Award. The selected films are “Dragonheart,” “Independence Day,” “Mars Attacks!,” “Mission: Impossible,” “The Nutty Professor,” “Star Trek: First Contact” and “Twister.”

On Feb. 5, a nominating committee made up of members of the Academy’s visual effects branch will screen excerpts of the films before casting their nomination ballots.

Each member may vote for up to three films, in order of preference. The three productions receiving the highest number of votes will be submitted to the Academy body for final award voting.

The excerpts, which must not exceed 15 minutes in length, are chosen by the films’ producers. The producers must also provide the committee with written descriptions explaining the procedures used to create the effects, as well as the names and titles of primary individuals involved with the effects.

Unlike in previous years, when the committee could submit one, two, three or no films as nominees, this year’s committee must nominate three pictures, due to a change in rules.

Oscar nominations will be announced Feb. 11, with winners named March 24.

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