"The Revenant" finally unspooled this week and our experts have embraced this epic film from last year's three-time Oscar champ Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Birdman"). Leonardo DiCaprio portrays real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass who trekked 200 miles to exact revenge on the hunters that abandoned him after a bear attack. One of our 21 Oscarwatchers drawn from major media outlets — Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair) — is now predicting it to win Best Picture. And a slew of others have moved it much higher up in their rankings.
As you can see from the chart above (with the gold line representing "The Revenant"), it started off awards season in second place behind "Joy," David O. Russell's still-unseen drama. That film, starring Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook") as a single mother turned entrepreneur, has the backing of three experts. It will be unveiled over Thanksgiving weekend.
Both of these contenders are tied with odds of 17-to-2. They were overtaken in mid-September by "Spotlight," a docudrama chronicling the efforts of Boston Globe reporters to expose pedophile priests that swept through the festival circuit.
Eleven of our experts are still predicting Tom McCarthy's film, which just picked up four nominations and a win from the Indie Spirit Awards, to prevail at the Oscars. That support translates into odds of 11-to-2.
"The Martian" remains in second place with the backing of four experts. Ridley Scott's sci-fi thriller didn't even make the top 10 at the start of the season but a combo of critical praise and boffo box office boosted it up high on our chart. It now has odds of 8-to-1 to win Best Picture.
The only other film to have any #1 votes from our experts is "Carol," Todd Haynes's bittersweet love story between a 1950s housewife (Cate Blanchett) and a shopgirl (Rooney Mara), which just earned a leading six Indie Spirit nominations. With one vote, it has odds of 12-to-1.
"Room" may not have any first place votes but continues to hold steady with all of our experts predicting it to reap a Best Picture bid. That support gives 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 odds of 10-to-1.
"Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller with two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as James Donovan, a lawyer defending accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance) has odds of 14-to-1.
"Steve Jobs, Danny Boyle's acclaimed biopic of Apple's patron saint is also at 14-to-1. Michael Fassbender, who plays the title role, is locked in a fierce fight with "The Revenant" leading man Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor.
"Brooklyn," a charmer about an Irish immigrant to America in the early 1950s, warmed the hearts of enough experts to have odds of 16-to-1.
"Spotlight" (11 Experts)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Nicole Sperling (EW)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com)
"The Revanant" (1 Expert)
Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair)
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