Worst. Photoshop. Ever.Earlier today, the Motion Picture Academy announced its contenders
for Oscar picks in the best explosions and fake representation of bedlam category:
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, X-men: The Last Stand, Casino
, Poseidon, Eragon, Superman Returns and Night at the Museum.

While Vegas odds makers are probably feeling safe about
their picks on Pirates of the Caribbean (for what it’s worth, my
pick as the shoe-in and eventual winner), a few might be
surprising, as more than a few weren’t expecting to see
Night or Casino in the mix.

Many did, however, expect to see Flags of Our Fathers. Personally, I find it a little sad to see Digital Domain holding its limp flagpole on the black sands of Iwo Jima. Dreamworks/Paramount had been pitching hard for
Flags in the effects category until it was surprisingly punted in the codpiece
by the likes of Casino Royale. While I can list the effects pieces that
probably got the selectees through the door, the spectacle of the Navy assault
on Mount Suribachi in Flags had a handful of short, though no less epic, unique
and awe-inspiring sequences. In the end, maybe it simply boiled down to
duration and “visibility”.

On the other hand, Casino’s Oscar nod seems to be more of a testament
to its nonstop chain of rapid-fire action sequences than its cadre of effects. I
didn’t really notice anything new being brought to the table, despite my jaded
adrenal gland being repeatedly cracked against one of the most frenetic opening
action sequences I’ve ever experienced.

The seven films up for Best Visual Effects nomination will
be whittled down to three via a 15 minute effects highlight clip (sans before
and after shots—again, sorry Flags). The three which are picked will go head to
head in the main event for the bald-headed champ on February 27.