According to The Hollywood Reporter, The shortlist for the 2004 visual effects Academy Award pits Martin Scorsese's reality-based The Aviator against six films that offer various degrees of VFX-assisted fantasy: Spider-Man 2, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Day After Tomorrow, I, Robot and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

The seven bake-off contenders for the 77th Annual Academy Awards, which were announced Friday, were culled from an intermediary list of 18 films drawn from an initial qualifying list of 250 films, according to Richard Edlund, chairman of the visual effects branch executive committee. "Our list gets longer every year," Edlund said. "Visual effects are more and more part of the glamour of filmmaking." Industrial Light + Magic garnered the most attention, having contributed to four of the seven films. The Marin County, Calif., shop was the lead house on Potter and Lemony and contributed last-minute shots to both Day After Tomorrow and Sky Captain.

Brian B.