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'Inception' is the Oscars' big tech winner

Though many criticized the Academy for not nominating director Christopher Nolan, the visually stunning film took home four Oscars that were all nods to the strength of the crew responsible for its technical effects.

The Academy Awards aren't really the place for high technology; the subset of awards commemorating film-industry engineering are relegated to a separate ceremony and only briefly acknowledged, after all. Consider last year, for instance, when James Cameron's 3D adventure "Avatar" lost out to "The Hurt Locker" for Best Picture and for Directing. Digital innovation can only really claim one category as its own: Achievement in Visual Effects.

Christopher Nolan's film "Inception," a film that managed the dual feat of being both technologically impressive and thematically brainy, took home the Visual Effects award Sunday night at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It was up against "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One," "Hereafter," and "Iron Man 2." More specifically, the award went to the visual effects crew for "Inception," Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, and Peter Bebb.

The fact that Nolan himself had not been nominated for Best Director was considered by many film fans to have been one of the nomination roster's major oversights. But Visual Effects was the fourth win of the night for "Inception": It earlier took home Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, and Best Cinematography.

The Visual Effects category was kicked off, appropriately enough, with a holograph-like re-creation of a vintage Oscars telecast hosted by the late Bob Hope, and announced by actors Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr., who co-starred in last year's aesthetically sensational rendition of "Sherlock Holmes." (Downey also starred in one of this year's nominees, "Iron Man 2.")

Correction 3:42 a.m. PT: This story initially misstated the Best Picture winner at the 2010 Academy Awards. The winner in that category last year was "The Hurt Locker."