Digital Domain’s wondrous digital effects in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — particularly the “aging and youthing” of Brad Pitt — “are so perfect as to be virtually invisible, free of the usual trappings of CGI — that too-fluid, too-fake, superimposed look that makes the cattle stampede in Australia, for instance, feel so unthreatening.

“Paradoxically,” writes Vanity’s Julian Sancton , “this may mean that the most impressive visual effects feat of the year may go unrecognized.

“‘The thing about Benjamin Button,’ says Judy Duncan, editor of the visual effects trade mag Cinefex, ‘is that, obviously all the [Academy] voters in the visual effects category know what they’re looking at, but the vote for the final winner goes to the entire Academy — including actors and writers and producers — and I don’t know if most of those people are going to know what they’re looking at. They’re going to assume it was all makeup.

“It’s stunning work — I actually think it should win — but I don’t know if the average moviegoer is going to recognize that.'”

That would be absurd, of course. The standard of good visual effects is not to be able to identify them. And yet to think that some people out there would be oblivious of this aesthetic…God!