When the trumpets sound Tuesday morning and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its annual Oscar nominations, could there be any more of a sure thing than that James Cameron’s mega-hit “Avatar” will grace the list of visual effects honorees?

After all, while many people have enjoyed the film’s sprawling anti-colonialism storyline, there’s little doubt that what has made the movie the highest grossing of all time is its stunning computer-generated imagery, primarily the intricate, intensely detailed and impressively realistic world of Pandora. More..