Just a few days ago it looked like Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs") was a lock to win Best Actor. But this is turning into a much tighter contest according to our 21 Oscar experts drawn from major media such as Yahoo, Variety, and USA Today. Leonardo DiCaprio has rallied and now has the votes of six experts compared to 10 for Fassbender. That gives this star of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's upcoming revisionist Western "The Revenant" odds of 4/1 to finally take home an Oscar after four losses. Fassbender, who plays Apple's patron saint in Danny Boyle's crackling biopic, still enjoys leading odds of 5/2. (Click on the above image to chart the ups and downs of the top 10 contenders in this race.)
In Fassbender's corner are: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Tim Gray (Variety), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby) Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Peter Travers (Rolling Stone).
I've been backing DiCaprio from the outset of the derby as have Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere). In this still-unscreened film, he plays legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass who, after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by the rest of his hunting party, treks 200 miles across the Dakota Territory to exact his revenge.
While Depp lost the support of Stone, he still has that of Tariq Khan (Fox News) and Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times) for transforming into Boston crime boss turned FBI informant Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper's true crime story. This three-time Oscar also-ran now has odds of 15/2 to finally prevail.
Eddie Redmayne, last year's Best Actor Oscar champ ("The Theory of Everything"), takes on another real-life role as the transgendered Lill Elbe in "The Danish Girl" from Oscar winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech"). By adding the vote of Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) who recently joined our pundit panel to that of Brian Truitt (USA Today) he now has odds of 13/2.
As you can see from the above comparison of what we were thinking at the beginning of the month compared to today, the order of the first four contenders has remained the same although the odds of the top two have tightened while those of the next two have lengthened. New at number five is Matt Damon for his portryal of an astronaut marooned on Mars who must make his own way home in Ridley Scott's blockbuster sci-fi epic "The Martian." (Click on the image above to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars.)
Damon, a two-time also-ran at the Oscars for acting, bumped two-time Supporting Actor champ Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986; "The Cider House Rules," 1999) from the top five. Caine, who plays a retired conductor considering one last performance in Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino's intimate film "Youth," is angling to become the first performer to be nominated in six consecutive decades.
Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Actor at the bottom of this post and 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, 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.)
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.