Momentum has been shifting in this year's Oscar race for Best Director, from Tom McCarthy, who helms Best Picture frontrunner "Spotlight," to Ridley Scott, who hopes to finally win his first honors from the academy for his sci-fi blockbuster "The Martian." Eleven of our 24 experts (journalists who cover this beat year-round) favor Scott as do five of our seven website editors. However, one group of predictors still strongly favors McCarthy: our Top 24 Users, those two dozen folks who had the highest scores predicting last year's Oscar nominations. Should we follow their lead?
As of this writing 14 of the Top 24 Users are predicting McCarthy will prevail, giving him 23/10 odds: Halo_Insider, beauseph, Ryan Casselman, thedemonhog (aka Gold Derby contributor Riley Chow), Denton Davidson, Cinemateo21, Erik10101, Ryan_Fernand, MHayes1323, Writer12, Vektor, GOEduardoPepe, tonyrandall and CineMen.
McCarthy has never been nominated for Best Director before, but among those users backing him for the win, it's worth noting that Cinemateo21 and Denton Davidson tied for the top accuracy rate (79%) predicting last year's Oscar noms, so it may be wise to pay attention to their forecasts.
Meanwhile, four of our Top 24 say Scott will win, giving him 9/2 odds: MDent3, eastwest, Bird and Lars-Birger. Scott has been nominated for Best Director three times before, but even though his film "Gladiator" won Best Picture in 2000, the filmmaker has still never won an Oscar of his own.
Three more top users predict George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road"), giving him 5/1 odds: Gautam, KelDoucette and WiltedYouth. Miller is a previous Oscar winner, but for Best Animated Feature ("Happy Feet," 2006). He also has past nominations for producing "Babe" (1995) and writing "Babe" and "Lorenzo's Oil" (1992), but this would be his first bid for Best Director.
One user, Irishmovielover4ever, says Todd Haynes will win for "Carol," giving him 15/2 odds. Though Haynes has long been a critics' darling, he only has one previous Oscar nom: Best Original Screenplay for "Far from Heaven" (2002).
However, most of our Editors, who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, have jumped on the Ridley Scott bandwagon. Five out of seven of us predict he'll win, giving him 11/5 odds: Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Rob Licuria, Tom O'Neil and Paul Sheehan. Meanwhile, Matt Noble and I are still favoring McCarthy, giving him 3/1 odds.
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Tom McCarthy photo credit: Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX
Ridley Scott photo credit: Stephen Lovekin/REX