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Surprise winners of the VFX Oscar -- and who should have won

It's not the most controversial category in the Academy Awards, but that doesn't mean there isn't some debate around the winners of the Oscar for best visual effects.

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Nic Healey

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1 of 9 Eon Productions/MGM

1965 winner: 'Thunderball'

In its 50-year run of 24 films, the James Bond franchise has gathered 14 Academy Award nominations, but only ever walked away with four wins -- and two of those were for 2012's "Skyfall." The win for "Thunderball" (which was more for the underwater sequence than for the functioning jetpack) was the first of these and a surprise when it was up against...

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2 of 9 MGM

'The Greatest Story Ever Told'

It may have been critically panned and completely failed to break even, but the epic retelling of Jesus' life boasted more impressive effects than 007's sharktastic adventures.

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3 of 9 Twentieth Century Fox

1979 winner: 'Alien'

Don't start yelling at me on Twitter just yet. "Alien" is clearly one of the greatest films ever made. But that year it was up against "The Black Hole", "Moonraker", "1941" and "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". So who should have won?

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4 of 9 Disney

'The Black Hole'

Thought I was going to say "Star Trek", right? Maybe it's a product of my advanced age, but this film blew my mind and had, at the time, the longest shot of CGI ever made.

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5 of 9 Universal Pictures

1992 winner: 'Death Becomes Her'

To my great shame, I saw this film in the cinema and I still feel bad about myself. Nominated along with "Alien 3" and "Batman Returns", the surprise isn't necessarily that this movie won. It's that the Academy didn't pull a 1973 and just not give out the award.

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6 of 9 Polygram Filmed Entertainment

1998 winner: 'What Dreams May Come'

Could have been subtitled the "Oscar winner that everyone forgot existed". Critically panned, there's a reason this wasn't a high-profile flick at Robin Williams' memorial. Don't get me wrong, rivals "Armageddon" and "Mighty Joe Young" aren't exactly "Citizen Kane" but...

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7 of 9 Disney

'Mighty Joe Young'

... given that the original "Mighty Joe Young" picked up the Oscar for Special Effects (as it was called back in 1949), there would have been a nice symmetry for the win. Plus, with "King Kong" winning in '76 and '05, it would prove that great apes are the best cinema.

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8 of 9 Disney

2006 winner: 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest'

Yes, the series that ate Johnny Depp's career has an Oscar. That's all you need to know.

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9 of 9 Warner Bros

'Poseidon'

Of course, the other options for that year were "Superman Returns" and "Poseidon". But at the least "Poseidon" has distinction of making it into the Guinness Book of Records for having the most detailed CGI model in a film.

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