The Academy announced today that nine fantasy films about exotic creatures and monsters plus one serious, intensively researched sci-fi film (i.e., Chris Nolan‘s Interstellar) have been short-listed for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. In so doing AMPAS dismissed a pair of super-expensive, high-profile Biblical films, Darren Aronfosky‘s Noah and Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings, by leaving them off the list. Which means what? The Exodus effects are said to be quite impressive (I’m seeing it tonight) and Noah‘s visual treats were generally acknowledged as novel and in some ways genre-expanding. The nine monster flicks are Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Godzilla, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Maleficent, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Transformers: Age of Extinction and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

The Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee chose the contenders. Members will be invited to view ten-minute excerpts from the shortlisted films on Saturday, 1.10.15. Following this they’ll vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration. The 87th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, 1.15.15 around the crack of dawn.