Best Shirtless Performance is a relatively new category at the MTV Movie Awards. It has been handed out only twice before, awarded to Taylor Lautner (“Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2“) in 2013 and Zac Efron (“That Awkward Moment“) in 2014. Efron is back this year, nominated this time for doffing his clothes in the hit comedy “Neighbors,” and he’s the overwhelming favorite to repeat.
Last year, we predictors weren’t so convinced. We actually ranked Efron fourth with 20/1 odds, behind Jennifer Aniston (“Were the Millers“), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor: The Dark World“), and our presumed frontrunner Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire“). We had thought, perhaps, that the “Hunger Games” juggernaut would crush any support for “That Awkward Moment,” but the power of Efron’s fandom took us by surprise.
We probably should have seen it coming. After all, that was his third MTV Movie Award, after winning Breakthrough Performance in 2008 for “Hairspray” and Male Performance in 2009 for “High School Musical 3.” But are we right to assume he’s still a fan favorite, or have those fickle young voters already moved on?
Five out of six Gold Derby Editors (myself included) say Efron will repeat. The lone dissenter is Rob Licuria, who instead predicts Channing Tatum for his role as Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz in “Foxcatcher.” Tatum was previously nominated in 2013 as a stripper in “Magic Mike,” but he couldn’t overcome “Twilight” fave Lautner.
Our Top 24 Users (the best predictors at last year’s awards) also give Efron the advantage. In fact, this is the only category where they’re unanimous. All 24 agree on the result, including last year’s best user, JDMintz, who was one of the few to foresee Efron’s upset victory last year.
Also nominated is Kate Upton (“The Other Woman“). She might have an advantage being the only woman in the category if her male rivals split the vote, but that didn’t help Jennifer Aniston, who was the sole female nominee last year.
Chris Pratt bulked up in recent years to transform himself from lovable Andy Dwyer in “Parks and Recreation” to the action hero he’s played in “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and the upcoming “Jurassic World.” He showed off that physique in “Guardians,” but despite seven nominations for that film overall – four of them for Pratt – he’s not considered likely to win.
Though I’m among the majority predicting Efron to prevail, I worry we’re collectively underestimating Ansel Elgort in “The Fault in Our Stars.” He’s a five-time nominee this year and the romantic hero of a young-adult adaptation with a devoted fan base. But he has the least support from our predictors overall.
When the predictions of our Editors, Top 24 Users, and All Users are combined, Efron is way out front (1/5 odds), while Tatum is a distant second (16/1), Pratt and Upton are tied in third (20/1) and Elgort trails in fifth (50/1).
Overall, last year’s Top 24 team didn’t do any better than Editors or Users – we all scored 35.71% correct, down from the previous year when we all forecast 50% of winners, which was down from the year before that, when the Top 24 and All Users scored 66.67% correct and Editors had 58.33%.
That means all of Gold Derby’s predictors are hoping to make a comeback, and you can help. If you think you know who will win this year’s MTV Movie Award races, click here to make your predictions. Your picks will be pooled together to generate our official racetrack odds, and if you have this year’s best predictions, you’ll win a $100 Amazon gift card (if you qualify according to our contest rules).
And don’t forget to use your big bets. Longshots pay out bigger if they upset, so if you place your two 200-point bets and one 500-point bet on a 100/1 underdog and they win, you score even higher. We use those scores to break ties if multiple users have the highest predictions percentage, so don’t take them for granted.
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