Avatar, Chris Pine, Star Trek, District 9

Twentieth Century Fox; Paramount Pictures; Sony Pictures

It's shaping up to be an alien invasion at the Oscars.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, James Cameron's Na'vi-centric 3-D extravaganza Avatar, Neill Blomkamp's prawn thriller District 9 and J.J. Abrams' action-packed Spock-eriffic reboot of Star Trek lead the list of seven films short-listed for the Visual Effects Oscar nomination.

Of course, all three are aspiring to even loftier heights. After yesterday's Producer Guild nominations, the trio all have a shot at a Best Picture nod in this year's expanded field.

Rounding out the VFX contenders: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and 2012. (Sorry, Twi-hards, New Moon didn't even make the quarterfinals.)

On Jan. 21, members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch will whittle the seven movies down to three for the official Oscar ballot. Nominations for the 82nd Annual Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Feb. 2.


E! Online has your complete Oscar coverage here.

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