Would they ever admit it?
Best Visual Effects - 80th Academy Awards
Nominees: "The Golden Compass," "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," "Transformers"
Who won: "The Golden Compass"
Who should have: "Transformers"
Why: One of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, the fine, but certainly not spectacular "Compass" won as the Academy clearly rejected Michael Bay's monster hit. There were two theories of why "Compass" took the prize. First, "Transformers" became that year's poster child for bloated summer blockbusters which paid little attention to story or performance (by the human cast members at least). Second, the older Academy membership were suckered by the cute images of digital polar bears over the B-movie giant robots battling each other (warning: "Pacific Rim" fans). Of course, the robots were an absolute Marvel created by ILM. Weeks later, even New Line executives were still shocked that "Compass" (which never made enough at the box office worldwide to justify a sequel) took the honor.
- Gregory Ellwood