Best Actor Oscar race tightens: Redmayne now tied with DiCaprio; Depp, Fassbender rising

In the last five days, Oscar pundits got a look at three of this year's leading contenders for Best Actor: Johnny Depp ("Black Mass") and Eddie Redmayne ("The Danish Girl")  at the Venice film festival and Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs") at Telluride. And, as you can see from the chart above, Redmayne has caught up to frontrunner Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"), whose film has yet to screen. Both Depp and Fassbender have moved significantly closer according to the collective predictions of 17 Experts at Gold Derby. See each Expert's individual rankings here.

DiCaprio and Redmayne now are tied with leading 4 to 1 odds. DiCaprio has endured five Oscar losses (four as an actor, one as a producer) over his career. He may finally prevail for playing a fur trapper bent on vengeance in "The Revenant." This period piece, set in the Dakota Territory in 1823, was co-written and directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who swept the Oscars last year with "Birdman."

Redmayne won his first Oscar bid earlier this year for his dramatic physical transformation into Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything," He was lauded in Venice for his sensitive portrayal of a transgender woman in "The Danish Girl." The film reunites the actor with "Les Miserables" director Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar for helming 2010 Best Picture champ "The King's Speech." 

Three-time Best Actor also-ran Depp is in third place with odds of 6/1 for playing Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger, who was a FBI informant for decades. While he has the backing of four Experts, as do DiCaprio and Redmayne, the rest of our Oscarologists rank him lower than those two, hence the difference in the overall odds. 

Fassbender, who lost his 2013 Supporting Actor bid ("12 Years a Slave"), is in fourth with odds of 6/1 to win for playing the computer whiz. This crackling biopic is directed by one Oscar winner, Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"), and scripted by another, Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") who adapted Walter Isaacson's best-seller. 

Rounding out the top five with odds of 9 to 1 is two-time Supporting Actor champ Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986; "The Cider House Rules," 1999) for his portrayal of a retired conductor considering one last performance in "Youth." Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino — who won the 2013 Foreign-Language Film Oscar for "The Great Beauty" — wrote and directed this intimate film, which was well-received at Cannes. 

Dish all the Oscar races in our red-hot forums with Hollywood insiders

See a breakdown of Oscar odds here. See how each Expert ranks contenders in nine top races. Here's how the Best Actor predictions break down according to our 17 pundits (click on the graphic below to see everyone's complete predictions):

4 Experts predict DiCaprio
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
Susan Wloszczyna (RogetEbert.com)

4 Experts predict Redmayne
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

4 Experts predict Depp
Tim Gray (Variety)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Jenelle Riley (Variety)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby),

2 Experts predict Fassbender
Edward Douglas (ComingSoon)
Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)

2 Experts predict Caine
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood)

1 Expert predicts Tom Hanks
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)

See complete list of Oscar odds and rankings here.

Related Poll: Who should host Golden Globes this year?

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Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby's Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

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As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it's important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

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