Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2..L to R: Yondu (Michael Rooker), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Mantis (Pom Klementieff), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Voiced by Vin Diesel)..Ph: Film Frame..©Marvel Studios 2017

Marvel Studios has had a banner year at the box office with three films grossing over $300M domestic and over $840M worldwide. We will have to see if 2017 will finally be the year in which the studio takes home some Oscar® gold, but one category just got a little tougher. Only one of Marvel’s three 2017 releases, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is still in contention for Best Visual Effects.

GotG Vol. 2 is actually the only superhero movie to make the Academy’s final 10 contenders in the category. Marvel Studios’ Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok, WB/DC’s Wonder Woman and Justice League, and Fox’s Logan were all on the previous shortlist, but failed to make the most recent cut.

Making the final 10 is a huge honor, but it does not guarantee Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 safe passage onto the final list of nominees. There nine other contenders left in the category and they are all very strong. Here is the full list, in alphabetical order.

Alien: Covenant
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Kong: Skull Island
Okja
The Shape of Water
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
War for the Planet of the Apes

There is no way Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be denied a nomination while Dunkirk will likely be this year’s “real-life” VFX nominee. That leaves only three spots that are realistically up for grabs and two of those could easily be spoken for by War for the Planet of the Apes and The Shape of Water. I’d consider GotG Vol. 2 a favorite over the rest of the list, but the Academy might feel differently.

Visual effects is not the only category in which Marvel Studios can compete for a nomination, but that is where the studio has picked up seven of of their nine Academy Award® nominations. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 will also be a contender for makeup and hairstyling, and possibly costume design. Thor: Ragnarok would also pull off a nomination in those categories.

And of course, Oscar® nominations, while serving as nice recognition for those who’ve made the movies, are not needed to validate the success of a film, or the studio that made it. Marvel Studios has had an amazing 2017 and any potential Oscar® nominations would just be icing on the cake.