The acting races at the Independent Spirit Awards usually favor whichever nominee is also up for the Oscar: six of the last seven Best Actor champs were also cited by the academy. But this is actually the first Best Actor contest since 2002 where none of the Spirit nominees’ films are nominated for any Oscars. So how do we identify a frontrunner?
We’ve polled Expert film journalists, Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Spirit winners and more than 1,000 total Users who make up our largest and often savviest bloc of predictors. And according to our combined predictions, teenager Abraham Attah (“Beasts of No Nation“) has the edge for his role as a child soldier in Africa, but only slightly.
In fact, our experts are split right down the middle. Out of the 12 currently predicting the Spirit Awards, six are betting on Attah, giving him 11/10 odds: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
The other six are predicting Jason Segel (“The End of the Tour“), who plays suicidal author David Foster Wallace, giving him 10/9 odds: Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).
Our editors are also evenly divided. Three out of six of us are betting on Attah (Marcus Dixon, Rob Licuria and Sheehan), while the other three say it will be Segel (Chris Beachum, O’Neil and myself).
Our Top 24 are tilted slightly in favor of Attah, with 14 predicting a win for the young actor compared to nine for Segel. The last top user is going out on a limb for Christopher Abbott (“James White“).
This is the first Spirit nomination for both Attah and Segel, though on paper Attah does seem to have an advantage since he’s the only nominee whose film is also up for Best Picture.
Who do you think will win?
Make your Spirit Award predictions beginning with Best Actor to the right or below. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google) and then start casting your votes.
Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts, just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.
Photo credits: “Beasts of No Nation” by Netflix; “End of the Tour” by Moviestore/REX