The British are coming! Eddie Redmayne & Benedict Cumberbatch up, Steve Carell down in Oscar race

It’s no secret that Hollywood loves the British. Heck, we give them awards for playing our presidents. So it may be a cause for concern for this year’s American leading men that a pair of Englishman – Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game“) – are dramatically climbing the leaderboard in our experts’ Best Actor Oscar predictions. Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“) should be especially concerned; as they have risen, he has fallen.

The Imitation Game’ puts pressure on Oscar rivals for Best Picture in latest predictions

The academy loves biopics, and Redmayne and Cumberbatch both have the benefit of playing real-life historical figures – scientists Stephen Hawking and Alan Turing, respectively – and both of their films have been scoring rave reviews and kudos at recent filmfests; “The Imitation Game” recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

Cumberbatch is now in fourth place with 11/2 odds and support from three experts. Compare that to two weeks ago when he was in fifth place with 12/1 odds and just one expert predicting him to win.

Redmayne, meanwhile, has moved into the top two after spending weeks in third place. Four experts are now betting on him to win, giving him 4/1 odds. Two weeks ago, he had 9/1 odds and no experts’ predicting him to win.

TIFF turns ‘The Theory of Everything’ and star Eddie Redmayne into hot Oscar contenders

Redmayne’s gain is Carell’s loss. Three weeks ago, the erstwhile “Office” star was the overwhelming favorite to win for his role as schizophrenic killer John du Pont in the Olympic tragedy “Foxcatcher.” But after a few weeks on the festival circuit, he lost ground first to Michael Keaton (“Birdman“), our experts’ current frontrunner, and now to Redmayne, who has edged him out for second place. Cumberbatch is right on his heels in what is shaping up to be a tight four-way contest.

Take a look at the graph below to see how the race has shifted (click on the graph to see more stats):

Will Best Actor be outsourced to another Brit this year? Use our drag-and-drop menu below to make your predictions.

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