When it comes to the Academy Award for best visual effects, you might think there are too many possible contenders to put on one ballot. And you'd be right. That's why the Academy Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee has narrowed it down to a list of 15 semifinalists, from which the nominees and eventual winner will be chosen. Here's what's in the running now:

Angels & Demons, Avatar, Coraline, A Christmas Carol, District 9, G-Force, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2012, Watchmen, and Where the Wild Things Are.

In a couple weeks, the committee will narrow the list down even further, to seven entries, and then 15-minute excerpts of those seven films will be shown to all the members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch. The branch will then vote to determine the three actual nominees.

Scanning the list of 2009 releases, I note the following films that might conceivably have been nominated for this award but that didn't make the shortlist:

Drag Me to Hell, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Land of the Lost, New Moon, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, Ninja Assassin, Surrogates, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Considering a lot of the CGI work in shortlisted Sherlock Holmes is aggressively bad, I would argue that something like Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian should have taken its place, but I don't think I can muster enough energy to be truly outraged at any of the omissions. Can you?