Oscar nominations predictions: Our National Board of Review contest winner dishes her picks

I recently had a chance to chat with Amanda Spears (screen name Surpriselover), who won our our 2015 National Board of Review prediction contest. (See our report on the NBR winners right here.) When it came to the accuracy of our predictions, she outpaced me 40% to 30% so I wanted to know her secrets. And I took the opportunity to get her to dish her Oscar predictions. Watch me get educated below.

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Spears hails from Wichita, KS where she works in the financial industry specializing in compliance. She's been a Gold Derby member since 2012, but this was her first contest victory. "I came in second place in 2013 with a score of 100% so I know the importance of the 200 and 500 point bets," she confesses. "Also in 2014 I was 17th place predicting the Emmys. So this is the best news!"

Her one regret from her NBR predictions was not ranking Sylvester Stallone higher for his supporting turn in "Creed." As she explains, "I had just seen the film and thought I was in awe of his performance." Now, she is forecasting him to win the Oscar: "He has the story, it's not something you're expecting out of Stallone. We've all seen 'The Expendables.' He had one last great performance."

As for the relevance of precursor prizes such as SAG, Golden Globes and Critics' Choice she says, "I think we're going to see one of those years when there have been so many different combinations, we're not going to see 18 out of 20."

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

Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Picture to the right or below.

You'll compete to win our contest prizes for best picks — $500 (first place), $300 (second place) and $200 (third place) in Amazon gift certificates — as well as 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). Be sure to read our contest rules.

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.

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