Last week the visual effects branch of the Academy held its annual bake-off. The seven films in competition were "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Avengers," "Cloud Atlas," "The Dark Knight Rises," "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "John Carter," "Life of Pi," "Prometheus," "Skyfall" and "Snow White and the Huntsman." Of those 10, "Cloud Atlas," "John Carter," "Skyfall" and "Snow White and the Huntsman" were shut out of today's Visual Effects Society nominations. So take that as you will for Oscar prospects.

Leading the charge was "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" with seven nominations. Someone who attended the bake-off last week said he heard plenty of negative chatter about the work in the film that night, but that's obviously not born out here. Not far behind was presumed frontrunner in the field, "Life of Pi," and Marvel's "The Avengers" with six apiece.

"The Amazing Spider-Man" and "The Dark Knight Rises" only pulled down one nod each, while "Prometheus" -- a film I expect to be an Oscar nominee -- picked up two. Ditto "Battleship," though it didn't make the list of Academy finalists.

On the animated side of things, "ParaNorman" led the way with five nods. "Brave" picked up 4.

I heard the "John Carter" reel wasn't very impressive at the bake-off and that "Snow White and the Hunstman" looked surprisingly strong. "Skyfall" is heavy on special effects over visual effects, and since that only speaks to a minor slice of the branch, that could hold it back a bit. Nevertheless, I've been wondering if it could surprise with a nod anyway, given how popular the film is. "Cloud Atlas," meanwhile, cut together an inherently confusing reel. "If you didn’t see the movie or trailer, watching this reel certainly won’t help you get a sense of this movie," effects supervisor Dan Glass reportedly said, to many laughs.

So, again, take all of that as you will. I'm pretty close to settled on my picks but I could see a couple of surprises happening. In the meantime, check out the full list of nominees for the 11th annual Visual Effects Society awards below. Winners will be announced on February 5.

And, as always, keep track of all the ups and downs of the 2012-2013 film awards season via The Circuit.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
"The Avengers"
"Battleship"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Life of Pi"
"Prometheus"

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
"Argo"
"Flight"
"The Impossible"
"Rust and Bone"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
"Brave"
"Hotel Transylvania"
"ParaNorman"
"Rise of the Guardians"
"Wreck-It Ralph"

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
"The Avengers" - The Hulk
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" - Goblin King
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" - Gollum
"Life of Pi" - Richard Parker

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
"Brave" - Merida
"Hotel Transylvania" - Dracula
"The Pirates: Band of Misfits!"
"Wreck-It Ralph" - Vanellope

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
"The Avengers" - Midtown Manhattan
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" - Goblin Caverns
"Life of Pi" - Open Ocean
"Prometheus" - LV-233

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
"Brave" - The Forest
"ParaNorman" - Main Street
"ParaNorman" - Graveyard"
"Rise of the Guardians" - The North Pole

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
"The Amazing Spider-Man"
"The Avengers" - Downtown Manhattan
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Total Recall: Hover Car Chase"

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
"The Avengers" - Helicarrier
"The Dark Knight Rises" - Airplane Heist
"The Impossible" - Orchid Hotel
"Men in Black 3" - Cape Canaveral/Apollo Launch

Outstanding FX Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
"Brave"
"ParaNorman" - Angry Aggie Ink-Blot Electricity
"ParaNorman" - Practical Volumetrics"
"Rise of the Guardians" - Last Stand

Outstanding FX Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
"Battleship"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Life of Pi" - Ocean
"Life of Pi" - Storm of God

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
"The Avengers" - Hulk Punch
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"
"Life of Pi" - Storm of God
"Prometheus" - Engineers & the Orrery