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

Oscar predictions Best Picture Spotlight Steve Jobs Joy 13579086

While the docudrama "Spotlight" is still ahead for Best Picture according to our Oscar experts (journalists from leading outlets such as Variety, USA Today and Yahoo), two biopics — "Joy" and "Steve Jobs" — are coming on strong. As you can see from the graph above, "Spotlight" had the momentum after completing the trifecta of film festivals last month. However, "Steve Jobs" opened to both stellar reviews and boffo box office this weekend while "Joyjust jumped into the drama race at the Golden Globes, adding to its Oscar credibility. (Click on the graph to explore these trends in-depth.)

Below: Rankings for the top 10 Best Picture contenders based on expert predictions and odds to win.

Dish all the Oscar races in our red-hot forums with Hollywood insiders

#1. "Spotlight" (7 Experts; Odds to Win: 6/1)
Thomas McCarthy's compelling film about the 2001 investigation by the Boston Globe into widespread sex abuse by Catholic priests is due out Nov. 6. This Open Roads release debuted in Venice, screened in Telluride and played to packed industry and public screenings at the Toronto film festival. Seven of our 20 Oscar experts are backing it for Best Picture, giving it leading odds of 6/1. These odds are calculated based on the rankings of all the contenders by our experts (See the complete breakdown of their individual predictions here.)

#2. "Joy" (4 Experts; Odds to Win: 8/1)
"Joy" reunites writer/director David O. Russell and Jennifer Lawrence for a third time. Lawrence — who won Best Actress for their first collaboration "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) and a supporting nomination for their second "American Hustle" (2013) — is Joy Mangano, a Long Island single mother of three who invented the Miracle Mop. Two veterans of those other Russell films are in this one as well: Oscar champ Robert DeNiro plays her father and three-time Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper plays a Home Shopping Network executive who believes in her. This 20th Century Fox film is due out on Christmas day and now has odds of 8/1 to take the top prize. 

#3. "Steve Jobs" (3 Experts; Odds to Win: 8/1)
Michael Fassbender embodies the man at the center of Universal's "Steve Jobs." The film from Oscar champ Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") won over audiences at both the Telluride and New York film fests before opening in limited release on Oct. 9; it expands this Friday and goes wide on Oct. 23. It has odds of 8/1 to win Best Picture.

#4. "The Revenant" (1 Expert; Odds to Win: 9/1)
Also set for Christmas is another Fox film, "The Revenant," which has odds of 9/1 to score a repeat Best Picture award for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who wrote, directed and produced last year's big winner "Birdman." Leonardo DiCaprio portrays a fur trapper mauled by a bear and left for dead by the rest of his hunting party who then treks 200 miles to exact his revenge. DiCaprio is 0 for five at the Oscars, having lost four acting bids and one for producing Best Picture nominee "The Wolf of Wall Street." 

Oscar Experts: Odds in top nine races

#5. "Room" (1 Expert: Odds to Win: 14/1)
"Room" won the People's Choice Award at TIFF over the likes of "Brooklyn," "The Danish Girl" and "Spotlight." That surprise victory bodes well for the Oscar hopes of Lenny Abrahamson's dark drama with rising star Brie Larson as a kidnap victim and newcomer Jacob Tremblay as the son she conceived in captivity. Of the previous 37 TIFF champs, 13 reaped Best Picture bids at the Oscars and five of them won the top Academy Award: "Chariots of Fire" (1981), "American Beauty" (1999), "Slumdog Millionaire" (2008), "The King's Speech" (2010) and "12 Years a Slave" (2013). This A24 release, out on Oct. 16, has odds of 14/1 to become the sixth to do so. 

#6. "Carol" (1 Expert; Odds to Win: 14/1)
Two years ago after winning her second Oscar for "Blue Jasmine," Cate Blanchett could well claim her third for playing another woman in crisis in "Carol." Todd Haynes adapted Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel "The Price of Salt," in which a housewife (Blanchett) falls in love with a store clerk (Rooney Mara). The film premiered at Cannes to raves and a Best Actress win for Mara. Those Oscar whizzes at the Weinstein Company screened it at Telluride and the Gotham filmfest before its limited release on Nov. 20. It has odds of 14/1.

#7. "The Hateful Eight (Odds to Win: 16/1)
Writer/director Quentin Tarantino has overseen three Best Picture nominees ("Pulp Fiction," "Inglorious Basterds" and "Django Unchained"). He returns to the race with "The Hateful Eight," a revisionist Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming. The film focuses on a group of strangers forced to seek refuge at an old inn during a blizzard. While this Weinstein release was shot with the rarely-used 65mm lens, it will screen in selected cinemas come Christmas Day in 70mm before going wide on Jan. 8. It has odds of 16/1 to win Best Picture.

#8. "The Martian" (1 Expert; Odds to Win: 16/1)
Matt Damon plays an astronaut stranded on Mars determined to find a way home (think "Gravity" meets "Castaway") in Ridley Scott's 3D epic. This Fox film has dominated the box office for two weekends running and has odds of 16/1 to add Oscar gold to all that green. 

#9. "Bridge of Spies" (1 Expert; Odds to Win: 18/1)
Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller stars two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as James Donovan, a lawyer defending accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance). Boosted by a raucous reception at the New York filmfest, this Walt Disney picture, out on Oct. 16, now has odds of 18/1 to take the top prize at the Oscars. 

#10. "The Danish Girl" (1 Expert: Odds to win: 22/1)
Tom Hooper's period piece stars last year's Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything") as the transgendered Lill Elbe and Alicia Vikander as his understanding wife. This Focus Features film, due out Nov. 27, has odds of 22/1 to win Best Picture. 

See how each expert ranks contenders in nine top races.

Here's the Best Picture winner predictions of our 20 Oscarologists.

"Spotlight" (7 Experts)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com)

"Joy" (4 Experts)
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Michael Musto (Out.com)
Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)

"Steve Jobs" (3 Experts)
Edward Douglas (ComingSoon)
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

"Bridge of Spies" (1 Expert)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)

"Carol" (1 Expert)
Christopher Rosen (EW)

"The Danish Girl" (1 Expert)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)

"The Martian" (1 Expert)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)

"The Revenant" (1 Expert)
Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair)

"Room" (1 Expert)
Jenelle Riley (Variety)

See complete list of Oscar odds and rankings here.

Make your Oscar 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 in-house team of 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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