DGA Awards: Our predictions contest leader declares ‘The Revenant’ is ‘clear frontrunner’ at Oscars

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“After its win at DGA I think ‘The Revenant‘ is now the clear frontrunner for Best Picture and Director at the Oscars,” says Paul Rankin (screen name Gatorfan), who got the highest score in our contest to predict the winners of the 2015 DGA Awards. Rankin actually tied with Obstinate_Julia but racked up the best point total of 8,882 by using his 500 and 200 point bets wisely. See the full leaderboard right here.

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Rankin hails from Delta, British Columbia, Canada where he’s a gas station manager/liquor store clerk. He’s been a member of Gold Derby since 2011 and tells us, “I owe a large chunk of my success to plain old luck. My betting strategy lead me to pick a few underdogs and I was fortunate that they panned out.”

This reader correctly predicted seven out of eight winners at the DGA Awards: “The Revenant” for Film Director, “Ex Machina” for First-Time Director, “Cartel Land” for Documentary, “Game of Thrones” for Drama, “Veep” for Comedy, “Bessie” for Movie/Mini, and “SNL 40th” for Variety Special. The only thing Rankin got wrong was Variety Series — he predicted “The Daily Show” but the winner was “The Tonight Show.”

We recently sat down with Rankin to find out what he thinks of this year’s DGA winners and how he did so well making his predictions. Here are his juicy secrets:

“Regardless of how unpredictable an awards season is I always look to the DGA for clarification. As a rule I always pick the same film to win both Picture and Director since they match up nearly 3/4 of the time and I just can’t see the academy splitting Picture and Director for a third time in four years. Plus as ‘Crash,’ ‘Argo’ and ’12 Years a Slave’ have recently shown us the Best Picture winner needs to win at least two other Oscars. The only other category I can see ‘Spotlight’ winning is Best Original Screenplay and even though ‘Mad Max’ may pick up some technical awards I’ve never bought it as a serious threat for Best Picture. ‘The Revenant’ meanwhile is likely going to win Best Actor and Best Cinematography and could end up taking another tech or craft prize as well. The only other film I could see winning Best Picture now is ‘The Big Short.’ I think it will win Best Adapted Screenplay and I think it has a chance for Best Film Editing as well. If it loses either one of those categories on Oscar night though I think it’s Best Picture chances are done.

“When I made my prediction for Best Film Director, ‘The Revenant’ had just won Best Picture, Director and Actor at the Golden Globes. Granted the Globes aren’t always the best indicator of what’s going to win at DGA or the Oscars but since no film had emerged as THE film to beat at the Oscars I figured for the time being I’d go with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu for ‘The Revenant’ at both the DGA and the Oscars and then I’d see how the awards season played out. I nearly switched my pick to Adam McKay after ‘The Big Short’ won at PGA but I decided to wait and see what happened with the SAG ensemble prize. Had ‘The Big Short’ taken that as well I definitely would have switched. After ‘Spotlight’ won the SAG ensemble prize I figured that in such an unpredictable awards year it would make perfect sense for the DGA to pick something different than the PGA and SAG for their top prize so I stuck with Inarritu.

“For Best Documentary at the Oscars I’ve felt all along that ‘Cartel Land’ is the favorite and not ‘Amy.’ ‘Cartel Land’ deals with a very serious problem in the world and to me it feels like a film the academy will want to honor as they view themselves as being very topical. Since I was picking it to win at the Oscars I’d thought I should pick it to win at DGA as well. I put my 500 point bet down on ‘Cartel Land’ as it was a big underdog and it paid off.

“When it came to the Best TV Drama and Comedy Directing categories I went with ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Veep,’ respectively, simply because I figured their recent Emmy wins for Best Drama and Comedy Series would work in their favor. With ‘Veep,’ I put down one of my 200 point bets since it wasn’t the favorite and just like ‘Cartel Land’ it paid off.

“However, when it came to the one category I got wrong, Best Directing in a TV Variety Series, my strategy didn’t work out. Since it was Jon Stewart‘s last hurrah I went with ‘The Daily Show.’ Even though he had nothing to do with the directing of the show I thought that Stewart’s calling it quits from the show would help it win.”

Click here to see odds and rankings of our Oscar Experts

What do you think will win Best Picture at the Oscars? Make your predictions using the menu 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 — 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 winners). Be sure to read our contest rules.

Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX Shutterstock

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