Oscar experts predictions: Best Actress battle between Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence

Our Oscar Experts — journalists from leading outlets such as Variety, USA Today and Yahoo — have been busy updating their predictions for Best Actress in the wake of three film festivals: Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Above, a comparison of what we were thinking four weeks ago versus today.(Click on the image to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars at the bottom of that page) And below, a breakdown of our votes for the three leading contenders. (See how the experts fill out their Oscar ballots in this and eight other top races HERE)

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Two-time Oscar champ Cate Blanchett remains in first place with odds of 7/2 based on the support of six Experts for her performance in Todd Haynes' "Carol." (See the odds for all the top Oscar races HERE.)

Haynes also adapted Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel “The Price of Salt” about a married woman (Blanchett) who falls in love with a shop clerk (Rooney Mara). Mara won Best Actress at Cannes, which does not distinguish between lead and featured performance, but will be campaigned in supporting for the Oscars.

Blanchett won her first Academy Award in the supporting category for playing all-time Oscar champ Katharine Hepburn opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in "The Aviator" (2004). She won Best Actress two years ago for "Blue Jasmine." If she triumphs for a third time in 11 years, she'll be one behind Hepburn and tied with Ingrid Bergman, Walter BrennanDaniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

Aside from Brennan — hugely popular with the screen extras who could vote for the Oscars back when he won Supporting Actor thrice between 1936 and 1940 — the others took much longer to rack up that third trophy: Nicholson – 22 years; Day-Lewis – 23 years; Bergman – 30 years; and Streep – 32 years. 

Brie Larson has jumped into a tie for second place with odds of 9/2. Five Experts are touting her raw portrayal of a kidnap victim who bears a child by her captor in Lenny Abrahamson's "Room." The film, adapted by Emma Donoghue from her acclaimed 2010 novel of the same name, just won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto film festival. That prize has an outstanding track record as an excellent predictor of Oscar nominees. Two years ago Larson earned BFCA and Indie Spirit bids for her performance in "Short Term 12"; she lost both those races to eventual Oscar champ Blanchett. 

Oscar experts' predictions:
'Spotlight' now leads for Best Picture; '
Joy,' 'Steve Jobs,' 'The Revenant' tied for second

Larson, who is about to turn 26, would be one of the youngest Best Actress winners in recent years. Three of the last four — Streep ("The Iron Lady," 2011), Blanchett and Julianne Moore ("Still Alice," 2014) — have been over forty. However, the fourth — Jennifer Lawrence — was just 22 when she prevailed for "Silver Linings Playbook" in 2012.

She has reunited with that film's writer/director, David O. Russell, for a third time with the biopic "Joy." Lawrence — who also reaped a supporting nomination for their second film together "American Hustle" (2013) – portrays Joy Mangano, the Long Island single mother of three who invented the Miracle Mop. Playing a real-life person proved to be a winner for 10 of the last 20 Best Actress champs. While Lawrence only has the votes of four Experts, she too has odds of 9/2 because of the way the rest of us rank her relative to Larson. 

While it can take quite a while to win a third Oscar, the second often follows quickly upon the first. Among the two-time Best Actress champs, the fastest to pull off this double act was back-to-back champ Luise Rainer (1936, 1937) followed by four women who did it in three years like Lawrence could: Bette Davis (1935, 1938), Olivia de Havilland (1946, 1949); Glenda Jackson (1970; 1973); and Jodie Foster (1988, 1991).

The other double winners were: Sally Field (five years: 1979, 1984); Hilary Swank (five years: 1999, 2004); Elizabeth Taylor (six years: 1960; 1966); Jane Fonda (seven years: 1971, 1978); Vivien Leigh (12 years: 1939, 1951); Ingrid Bergman (12 years: 1944, 1956); and Streep (29 years: 1982, 2011). 

And then there is Katharine Hepburn. She won her first Best Actress prize in 1933 for "Morning Glory," then lost eight times before winning in 1967 ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"), 1968 ("The Lion in Winter") and 1981 ("On Golden Pond"). 

Rounding out the top five, albeit with no Expert predicting them to win, are two past Oscar nominees: 2009 Best Actress nominee Carey Mulligan ("An Education") as a women's rights activist in the historical drama "Suffragette" and 2007 Supporting Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement") for the charming period piece "Brooklyn."  

Cate Blanchett, "Carol" (6 Experts)
Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com)

Brie Larson, "Room" (5 Experts)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby)
Jenelle Riley (Variety)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)

Jennifer Lawrence, "Joy" (4 Experts)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Actress at the bottom of this post. 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 the 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.

12 thoughts on “Oscar experts predictions: Best Actress battle between Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence

  1. I heard JOY is an epic and Jennifer Lawrence is a force to reckon with in the movie.Even Joy mangano loved the new script DOR rewrote. The movie is completely original n is based on lives of various women entrepreneurs.There is also lot of funny stuff in the movie. So, Yup Jennifer is my pick even though I haven’t seen the movie. Also cate n larson gave oscar deserving performances.

  2. I’ve seen Carol, Cate Blanchett is terrific, worth every bit of praise she’s received! The Oscar is hers to lose as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Jennifer Lawrence is terrific.What is her age 25? Its a joke actually how talented she is. People take acting classes and spend hours in front of mirrors to hone their skills and here is a girl who blew me away with her very first movie The poker house. I asked a lot of people who worked with her and heard them say to me in private that she is a revealation on and off the screen. Usually our so called legendary actors are so full of themselves thats why jennifers rise and rule over hollywood will be good for our industry just like roger federers rise and rule over tennis had changed the sport for ever.

  4. Jennifer Lawrence id the new IT girl now, so let us help to win another Oscar. She is awesome actress and will go a long way what with her down to earth personality.

  5. I wish to correct my sentences “Jennifer Lawrence is the new IT girl now, so let us help her to win another Oscar. She is an awesome actress and will go a long way what with her down-to-earth personality”.

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