Our 17 Oscar Experts have been busy updating their predictions for Best Picture in the wake of three film festivals: Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Above, a comparison of what we were thinking two weeks ago versus today (Click on the image to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars.) "Steve Jobs," which world premiered at Telluride, has risen to the top of the ranks ahead of the yet-to-screen "Joy" and "The Revenant." "Spotlight" is on the rise after warm welcomes in both Venice and Toronto while "The Danish Girl" has slipped slightly after likewise appearances. And Cannes sensation "Carol" continues to do well after a strong showing in Telluride.
At the center of Universal's "Steve Jobs" is Michael Fassbender as the mercurial computer whiz. The film by Oscar champ Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") was deemed a stand-out when it debuted at Telluride but skipped Toronto rather than being shunted to the second week. It will be the Centerpiece of the New York Film Festival on Oct. 3 before its limited release on Oct. 9 and has odds of 15/2 to win Best Picture.
"Joy" brings together 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) — plays Joy Mangano, a Long Island single mother of three who invented the Miracle Mop. Oscar champ Robert DeNiro is her father, Edgar Ramirez her ex 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.
Also set for that date is another Fox film, "The Revenant," which has odds of 9/1 to score a repeat Best Picture Oscar 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."
Thomas McCarthy's docudrama "Spotlight" delves into the reporting by the Boston Globe that revealed widespread sex abuse by Catholic priests in Beantown. After completing the trifecta of festivals, this Open Road release now has odds of 12/1 and the momentum as it heads toward a Nov. 6 opening. Much of the focus is on the featured performance of Michael Keaton as the editor who drives his team to break the story.
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 have it slotted in at the Gotham filmfest on Oct. 9 before its limited release on Nov. 20. It has odds of 12/1.
Last year "Birdman" star Keaton lost Best Actor to Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything") who is back in contention for his portrayal of the transgendered Lill Elbe in "The Danish Girl." This biopic by Oscar winner Tom Hooper ("The King's Speech") was well-received in both Venice and Toronto and now has odds of 14/1. Focus has it scheduled for Nov. 27.
See a breakdown of Oscar odds here. See how each Expert ranks contenders in nine top races. Here's how the Best Picture predictions break down according to our 17 pundits (click on the chart below to see everyone's complete predictions):
"Black Mass" (1 Expert)
Tim Gray (Variety)
"The Danish Girl" (1 Expert)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
"The Hateful Eight" (1 Expert)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)
"Inside Out" (1 Expert)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
"The Martian" (1 Expert)
Jenelle Riley (Variety)
"The Revenant" (1 Expert)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
"Spotlight" (1 Expert)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
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