Very special effects: How'd they do that?

Updated 2/6/2007 1:01 AM ETE

Before: Actors wear motion-capture suits on the set of
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest .

After: Davy Jones and his crew come to life on-screen.

The three movies nominated for this year's visual effects Academy Award pushed the technological envelope, says Bill Desowitz, editor of

"Obviously, in the visual effects world there's a lot of buzz about Pirates and the character (Davy Jones)" that (Industrial Light & Magic) made," says Rich Hoover, the visual effects supervisor on Superman Returns. "But we all have our fingers crossed."

Winners are announced on Feb. 25's Oscar telecast. USA TODAY's Mike Snider breaks down what made the nominated films so special:

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
On DVD: $30-$35

Who did the effects: Industrial Light & Magic
The tentacled visage of Davy Jones, played by Bill Nighy, wasn't just another computer-generated face. Nighy wore a motion-capture suit during filming of on-deck scenes, and the Industrial Light & Magic crew led by John Knoll integrated mo-cap into the production process. The crewmembers of The Flying Dutchman were created the same way.

Nominated for three other awards sound mixing, sound editing and art direction Dead Man's Chest is "the odds-on favorite" to win, says's Desowitz, "based on the immense popularity of (the film, 2006's top grosser at $423 million) and all the attention to Nighy's perfomance."