Oscar predictions: Experts divided over Leonardo DiCaprio, Eddie Redmayne, Johnny Depp and …

leonardo dicaprio the revenant eddie redmayne the danish girl 13579086

This year's Oscar race for Best Actor is heating up among overdue Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Revenant"), reigning champ Eddie Redmayne ("The Danish Girl") and several more formidable rivals, according to the collective predictions of 17 experts at Gold Derby. See each expert's individual rankings here.

DiCaprio leads with 7 to 2 odds. He's suffered five Oscar losses (four as an actor, one as a producer) over his career, prompting our forum posters to wonder who the internet would obsess over next if he finally were to win 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."

Chasing DiCaprio in the Best Actor contest is Redmayne (4 to 1 odds), who won just six months ago for his dramatic physical transformation of Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" and now undertakes another bold role: portraying 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." 

Following these two frontrunners, our Experts have Johnny Depp ("Black Mass") in third place with odds of 6/1 for playing Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger, who was a FBI informant for decades.  

Michael Fassbender ("Steve Jobs") is in fourth place with 13/2 odds as the self-titled computer whiz. Oscar winners Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") directs and Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") adapted Walter Isaacson's best-selling bio. 

Rounding out the top five is two-time Supporting Actor champ Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986; "The Cider House Rules," 1999) as a retired conductor considering one last performance. Italian auteur Paolo Sorrentino, who won the 2013 Foreign-Language Film Oscar for "The Great Beauty," wrote and directed. 

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See a breakdown of Oscar odds here. See how each expert ranks contenders in 7 top races. Here's how the Best Actor predictions break down according to our 17 pundits:

5 experts predict DiCaprio
Tariq Khan (Fox News), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), 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)

3 experts predict Depp
Tim Gray (Variety), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Jenelle Riley (Variety)

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 receive honorary Oscars this year?

Make your predictions 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.

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio at 2014 Oscars. Credit: Jim Smeal/BEI/REX
Photo: Eddie Redmayne in "The Danish Girl." Credit: REX

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