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Familiar names dominate Oscar visual effects nominations

While the eyes of Hollywood are focused on George Clooney, Meryl Streep, and films like "The Artist" and "The Descendants,' let's not forget the notable achievements of the visual effects Academy Award nominees, many of whom have won Oscars in the past.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2' was one of five films honored with Academy Award nominations for visual effects today. Screenshot by CNET

When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its Oscar nominations this morning, there were some very familiar names among the honorees.

Joe Letteri, for example. And Tim Burke and Scott Farrar.

These may not be people that appear regularly in the pages of "Us Weekly," but to those who follow the visual effects industry, they're on par with Meryl Streep and George Clooney.

Only one film can win the Oscar for best visual effects, but today, five films were nominated.

As usual, George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic was honored, this year for its work on "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." As well, Peter Jackson's Weta got a nod, with "Avatar" winner Letteri and his team being nominated for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." And over at Warner Brothers, Burke nabbed one of the five slots for his stewardship of the visual effects in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2." Also joining the field of five is Pixomondo's Rob Legato and his team for their efforts on "Hugo," and Digital Domain's Erik Nash and his charges, who created the effects for "Real Steel."

Unlike a few years ago when "Avatar" was a can't-miss nominee, it's not clear who will emerge with the golden statue at the Oscars on February 26. But whoever wins will surely have earned his or her right to raise the prize over head and thank his or her mother and agent. Let's just hope the winner keeps the speech short.