Lucas's Folly XVIII: Something About Glass Skulls's long journey from fanboy dream-project to yet another chapter in The Big Book of Cinematic Disillusionment has been capped with an Oscar snub.

Yes, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was squeezed out of the Oscars effects race, bested by Australia's virtual cattle stampedes, and—lo, the stinging irony—a string of Brendan Fraser Indy knockoffs, i.e. Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Surely nothing in either those second-rate matinee adventures approached the verisimilitude of Skull's Shia-swinging jungle escapades or Russkie-devouring red ants.

The seven finalists:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II
Iron Man
Journey to the Center of the Earth
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

The voting procedure is unusual in that it is open to the public. A "visual effects bakeoff," free and open to everyone, will be held January 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, where finalists will screen 15-minute highlight reels. The voting will occur immediately after, so long as no unforeseen problems get in the way—say, the projector making Benjamin Button look diarrhea-colored, or George Lucas streaking through the theater in protest.