Ridley Scott's "The Martian" just did boffo business, grossing more than $55 million in its first weekend. This 3D epic was boosted into the stratosphere by stellar reviews, scoring a jaw-dropping 94 at Rotten Tomatoes and an impressive 81 at MetaCritic. Matt Damon stars in this sci-fi thriller as an astronaut stranded on Mars determined to find a way home (think "Gravity" meets "Castaway").
But while the stars of those popcorn pictures — Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks respectively — reaped Oscar bids, Damon sits in seventh place on our Best Actor chart. He ranks that far down because only five of our 19 Oscar experts — journalists who cover this beat for major media including Variety, Yahoo, USA Today, and Huffington Post — are predicting that he will be nominated. And none of us [Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and myself] is predicting him to prevail.
However, that could well change as awards season kicks into high gear. One or more of the current frontrunners for a nomination could falter. And we know Damon is well-liked by the academy. He and his BFF Ben Affleck won an Oscar together for writing the screenplay for "Good Will Hunting" in 1997. Since then, Affleck has won a second trophy for producing the 2012 Best Picture champ "Argo" while Damon is still searching for his Oscar bookend. Will he catch up this year?
He has been nominated twice before as an actor for his lead role in "Good Will Hunting" and his supporting part in 2009's "Invictus", losing to Jack Nicholson ("As Good As It Gets") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds") respectively. Will third time be the charm? Do you think Damon will contend for "The Martian"?
Make your Oscar predictions and 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, our 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.
Below: Watch the trailer for "The Martian" and then cast your ballot for Best Actor using our easy drag-and-drop menu.
Photo: Matt Damon in "The Martian." Credit: Moviestore/REX