Oscar experts’ predictions: Brie Larson (‘Room’) moves ahead of Cate Blanchett (‘Carol’) in Best Actress battle

In the battle for Best Actress, Brie Larson ("Room") just moved ahead of Cate Blanchett ("Carol") according to the predictions of our Oscar experts from Yahoo, Variety, Rollling Stone, IMDB and other top media. As you can see above from the comparison of what we were thinking four weeks ago versus today, Larson has leapt from fifth to first while Blanchett, the one-time frontrunner, has slid to second. (Click on the image to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars.)

Currently, nine of our 20 Oscar experts are betting on Larson to win for her breakout role as a kidnap victim in Lenny Abrahamson's crime thriller. That support translates into leading odds of 27/10 for her to win on her first nomination. And eight experts are backing Blanchett for her performance as a closeted lesbian in Todd Haynes' period drama. That gives this Aussie import odds of 10/3 to take home her third Oscar in 11 years.

Below: Rankings of the top five Best Actress contenders based on expert predictions and odds to win. (See individual predictions of the experts here.)

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#1. Brie Larson, "Room" (9 Experts; Odds to win: 27/10)
Adapted by Emma Donoghue from her acclaimed 2010 novel of the same name, "Room" won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto film festival. Two years ago Larson earned BFCA and Indie Spirit bids for her performance in "Short Term 12"; she lost both those races to eventual Oscar champ Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine"). 

Experts: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Tim Gray (Variety), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily) and Brian Truitt (USA Today). 


#2. Cate Blanchett, "Carol" (8 Experts; Odds to win: 10/3)
Director Haynes also adapted Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel “The Price of Salt” about a married woman (Blanchett) who falls in love with a shop clerk (Rooney Mara). Mara won Best Actress at Cannes, which does not distinguish between lead and featured performance, but will be campaigned in supporting at the Oscars.

Experts: Edward Douglas (ComingSoon), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (EW), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).

Oscar experts' predictions:
'Spotlight' holds onto Best Picture lead; '
Joy,' 'Steve Jobs' rising

#3. Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" (2 Experts; Odds to win: 5/1)
Lawrence has reunited with writer/director, David O. Russell for a third time with this biopic of Joy Mangano, the Long Island single mother of three who invented the Miracle Mop. She won this race for their first collaboration, "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012), and reaped a supporting nomination for their second film together "American Hustle" (2013). 

Experts: Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)


#4. Saoirse Ronan, "Brooklyn" (Odds to win: 17/2)
 A 2007 Supporting Actress nominee for ("Atonement"), she shines as an Irish emigre in this charming period piece, directed by John Crowley ("Once") with Nick Hornby adapting Colm Toibin’s 2009 novel of the same name.


#5. Carey Mulligan, "Suffragette" (Odds to win:18/1)
This 2009 Best Actress nominee ("An Education") portrays a women's rights activist in Sarah Gavron's historical drama based on an original script by Emmy champ Abi Morgan ("The Hour"). 

See how each Oscar expert ranks contenders in nine top races

Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Actress at the bottom of this post. You could earn a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year's Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year's Oscar nominations).

Last year the 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.)

Which group will be victorious this year?

Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.

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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