Oscars predictions: Experts split on Actor with 20 for Eddie Redmayne (‘Theory of Everything’), 8 for Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)

While 20 of our Oscars experts are predicting that Eddie Redmayne will win Best Actor for “The Theory of Everything,” eight of them expect Michael Keaton to prevail for “Birdman.” This is the first Oscar nomination for each. 

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Redmayne won at the Golden Globes (drama), SAG Awards and BAFTA. He is the 1/2 favorite with 20 Experts backing him: Thelma Adams (ZEALnyc), Kyle Buchanan (Vulture), Mike Cidoni (Associated Press), Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter, Thom Geier, Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Claudia Puig (USA Today), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times), and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).

See Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Keaton also prevailed at the Golden Globes (comedy/musical) and at Critics’ Choice. He is in second place with 12/5 odds and has the support of eight Experts: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Michael Musto (Out.com), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (IMDB), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), and Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood).

Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper“) has nominations this year for acting and producing. While this marks his third straight year contending as an actor, he is in third place at 50/1. 

Also at 50/1 is rookie nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game“).

Rounding out the race is first-time nominee Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“) with odds of 100/1.

Make your Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Actor winner using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations this year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Indie Spirits, Razzies, “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and more.

13 thoughts on “Oscars predictions: Experts split on Actor with 20 for Eddie Redmayne (‘Theory of Everything’), 8 for Michael Keaton (‘Birdman’)

  1. No matter what comes out of this,I am staying with my choice for Best Actor Michael Keaton.These “20 Oscar experts” don’t know what their talking about.Don’t get me wrong, Redmayne did an excellent job as Stephen Hawking,but it took Michael Keatonover thirty-five years to get to the Oscars in what people say is”the role of a lifetime” and maybe not come his way again,so this maybe his ONLY chance to finally win an Oscar.Once again staying with Keaton.

  2. I’m predicting Redmayne, but I want Keaton to win… This way I’ll either be right or happy. I can’t lose… As long as one of the two win at least the winner will be very deserving. With these two you’ll never look back in 10-20 years and say, “I can’t believe Blank beat Blank that year!”

  3. Randall: Eddie Redmayne has won the GG/SAG/BAFTA. Only 1 time in 20 yrs did someone with that combo did not go on to win the Oscar – Russell Crowe (A Beautiful Mind). Redmayne has the odds in his favor.

  4. Eddie all the way! “Birdman” is great as is Keaton in it, bu he has an arrogant and bristly relationship with the industry and the press corp. He REFUSES adamantly to acknowledge the undeniable parallel of his role and his own career. I didn’t buy his Golden Globe speech at all. He was way to obviously trying to bag the Oscar with the tears.
    This should be treated as a welcome back to the industry nomination, not an Oscar. For what before this? Mr. Mom? Beetlejuice? Fun films indeed but NOT a body of work that demands an Oscar right now just because he’s come back.
    Redmayne gives a once in a lifetime performance that will be rewarded. I loathe the comments that his time will come…..they said the same of Peter O’Toole, Richard Burton, and Deborah Kerr. He gives a singularly great performance that will be rewarded now. Keaton is just plain lucky to get a role as a comeback. He’ll still always be Batman and now Birdman, whether he wants that designation or not. Sorry but many actors have the role of a lifetime and they lose out. That’s just how it is. A great role is a great role. How did Lauren Bacall lose 18 years ago? She deserved more than Keaton for a lifetime of screenwork but the Academy hated/hates Streisand, so they denied her because of that. So many in the Academy are like kids in school. Check out Scott Feinberg’s revealing interview with an anonymous voter today if you want to see how the Academy really works.
    Eddie has this. And he deserves it. Not Keaton. Had Keaton given more substantial performances in his lifetime he may have had a chance. He’s been away too long. Eddie’s time has come.

  5. I find it hysterical how people think Keaton should win cause he may not get another shot after 30 years – so what – are we to assume Redmayne will live another 30 years so he can win at 62. This NOT A LIFE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD this is an award for last years work and it should be Redmayne. As I said in another post if this continues the Oscar will mean nothing cause without young people invested these awards will mean nothing.

  6. Totally don’t agree with you, Martin. First off, “once in a lifetime performance”? The famous person with a disability has been done ad nauseam. It’s not really acting, it’s just copying. Plus, Eddie smiling the whole movie while having ALS…yeah, that’s not realistic. Plus the movie as a whole was garbage. Second, Keaton has maintained that he’s noting like the Riggan character that he plays in the film. As far as anyone knows Michael Keaton in not a complete narcissist who hallucinates and believes he has telekinesis. That, to me is why Keaton doesn’t want to admit art imitating life. Obviously he knows that he, like his character, played a former superhero. Nobody’s shocked by that! If Redmayne wins it proves the Academy cares more about the typical over the top performance over subtlety.

  7. Seanburgundy – nothing has been more overplayed than the washed up actor on a comeback scenario and as an actress let me just ask you to try and pull off what Redmayne did and be convincing. Also maybe you should do a little research on Hawkin cause up until a few years ago he could still smile.

  8. Gina, I’m with you……and seanburgandy, obviously I have to agree to disagree with you. What on earth do you think Matthew M’s win was last year? That wasn’t for “Dallas Buyers Club”. That was for being mostly crap movies his whole career minus a couple of good ones and showing he can do more. That’s all that movie was. Ditto for Jared Leto. His role was originally played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the 80’s in “Flawless”. Been there done that.
    Redmayne is flawless. Keaton is very good but really? the star is the film itself. And it’s more popular within the industry than out in the public. Anyone will tell you that.
    “Copying”? Eddie was not smiling at all in the second half of the film. As far as the movie being garbage, I’m sorry but you’re way offbase. Even the film’s detractors would never call it garbage.
    By the look of your picture you look to be in your twenties or thirties, or younger.
    I am 62 myself. This marks my 51st consecutive Oscars. I was a little kid when I begged my parents to let me stay up and watch “Lawrence of Arabia” win Best Picture. I’m an avid moviegoer. I’ve been going to movies since I was 5 or 6. I live movies. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds if not more films during my lifetime so far. And I’ve not missed one Oscar show since 1963. I’m not saying I’m smarter than anyone, but I will say I have observed them and the entertainment biz for a very long time. I got a subscription to Variety when I was 15 and read it hard copy long before there were computers. I have seen movies and actors for a very, very, very long time.
    Sorry, but in the Oscar world, where there are plenty of politics obviously……sorry to tell you but Keaton is a fool for not admitting that the film could also be about his own life. Own up to it. But he refuses. Eddie has been everywhere, and smart enough to talk more about the film and Stephen Hawking more than himself. I preferred that to that sobfest acting extravaganza at the GG’s of Keaton’s. Didn’t buy a minute of it. Totally calculated.
    Gina, I love ya………and knowing that you are an actress you know whereof you speak.
    seanburgundy, with no disrespect, you really need to live a few more years and see a few hundred more films and study more Oscarology by Tom who is the master of all things Oscar……….before you really should be calling “The Theory of Everything”…which……..by the way…was not all about ALS. It is a love story of him and his wife for the most part.
    My father spent 4 months in an ICU unit once and a woman who got to be very good friends with us in the bed next to my Dad had ALS…….and she had it very bad. We got to be friends for a month before she died. The fact that Hawking is still alive today is testament to his strength and courage and determination…….all of these factors Redmayne brought to this role and more. Garbage??????? I think not. Guessing you may be a Millenial and that may explain you opinions on this. Again, I mean no disrespect, but you really have to live live for a few more years and a couple of hundred movies under your belt to full grasp the whole scenario imho.

  9. Wow Martin, way to be extremely condescending and then mask it by saying no offense. Lol. With age doesn’t always come wisdom my friend! Life experience sure, but intelligence…not so much. I’m sure you’ve met people who are older than yourself who are not wiser, just more hardened. So I’m gonna take what you said with a grain of salt. Anyways, I’m going to try to not write a novel about my displeasure with the movie, but I’ll give you some of my opinions. My main problem with the film is it never explains how Stephen did anything! How exactly has he beaten the prognosis of 2 years to live? How did he come up with his theory? Why exactly did he fall in love with his nurse? How come out of the blue he decides to leave the woman who took care of and supported him? None of these questions are ever answered! People keep falling back on that it’s a love story, and I get that , but the movie doesn’t help you understand the man at all. Aren’t movies supposed to make you understand the character or subject? My other pet peeve is the laziness of it all. A good example of this is the ending. The movie rewinds and goes back to Stephen and Jane’s beginning. What’s this trying to convey, how they made it through it all? It’s a bad idea that looks amateurish and it plays off like a Lifetime movie. As far as the acting is concerned, I thought it was all pretty mediocre at best. Eddie is ok, but to me it feels forced. A good example of someone who did the handicapped role to perfection was DDL in My Left Foot. He showed anger, pain, sadness, and love. Eddie smiles. Last note, Gina I respect that you’re an actress because I’m sure it’s hard work and you’re never really guaranteed anything. I just don’t agree that you can say that one performance is harder than the other. One man had to contort his body in different ways and I agree that was tough. The other had no luxury of making mistakes. Also extremely tough. We’re humans, all this stuff is subjective! Anyways I have more to say, but I wrote that novel I told you I wasn’t going to write. 😉

  10. Well, as you say that is all subjective. All your questions are answered in the movie. They may not be laid out in pablum as you may want them to be but they are there. Wisdom and knowledge do come with age more often than not……you’ll find that out many years from now. Especially with films. Like I said, see a few hundred or more films over the next few years to compare and contrast.

    Have you read any of Hawking’s works? Did you know who he was before you saw the film? Have you watched someone with ALS die in front of you? I have. Eddie’s “smile” in the second half of the film isn’t smiling, his portrayal of Hawking is bang on. Eddie isn’t smiling in the second half the film. His facial muscles have been contorted but just look as if he’s smiling. My friend who died in ICU had the exact same “look”. Redmayne immersed himself into that role. The role demanded he be early Hawking and later Hawking most of the shoot separate times in one day. Do you realize how difficult that is to do?
    Keaton was just required to be an sob having a nervous breakdown for most of the film, which mirrors his own life in many ways albeit he’d never own up to that. That was not that hard a role to pull off for him. Have you ever seen him in “Clean and Sober”? He’s very good, not great. Same goes for “Birdman”. Great film but the movie itself is the star. Not his character. Comedy is still his best forte.
    By the way…..”gonna take”? Is that American for “going to take”?
    Wisely, the film is at it’s heart……at love story first…it’s not a disease of the week movie. How anyone could not be moved by the film’s ending at this man’s triumph of living beyond the short time he was given but thrived and survived is beyond me.
    But have your opinion. That’s what we are all here for. Even the Experts at Gold Derby here outnumber Redmayne over Keaton. Eddie has this handily.
    But back to that original point…..dislike the film all you like, but it’s not garbage. Amateurish? That is completely insane to even say that. Maybe “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” is more your speed? I don’t need or want your respect.
    Degree of difficulty does count. And pedigree. Not “Mr. Mom”. For all anyone knows both men could split the vote and Cooper may just win.
    It’s only days away, time will tell.

  11. Bravo! Exquisite job being the grammar police, Martin! I’m so impressed that you have the time to read my opinions and find the time to best me on a word I intentionally used to be casual in the context of a heavy conversation. By the way, look down at some of your posts and see if there are not mistakes. You are probably the rudest commentor I have ever come across. That’s actually funny coming from a guy who says how “arrogant” Michael Keaton is to the media. Do you know the man? Have you ever even met him? My guess is you haven’t, but you’ll be the toughest, coolest guy on the internet in your response back to me, won’t you? Hot Tub Time Machine 2, huh? So I have a different opinion about an Oscar nominated movie than you and others, that automatically makes me stupid and incapable of reviewing movies? I think you probably know the old saying about you and the horse you rode in on, right? Last thing I’m going to say is that I have watched tons of movies. No, I don’t watch a hundred movies a year (I don’t have the time), but I own close to 400 and I’ve watched over 1,000. Anyways, I’m done.

    Cheers, Martin!
    Stay classy!

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