Oscar predictions: ‘The Revenant’ & ‘Spotlight’ battle for Best Picture

the revenant spotlight

"Spotlight" has been the presumptive Oscar frontrunner for months, but the bigger-than-expected Oscar nominations windfall for "The Revenant" has thrown a wrench into our predictions. With 12 total bids, is "The Revenant" suddenly the film to beat, or is "Spotlight" still the favorite?

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Our Experts are split down the middle. We've already polled 14 journalists from outlets like Variety, Entertainment Weekly and the Huffington Post, and both "Revenant" and "Spotlight" have support from six of them, giving them 3/2 odds. The six backing "The Revenant" are Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).

The six predicting "Spotlight" are Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly) and Brian Truitt (USA Today).

But two other experts forecast an upset victory for "The Big Short": Tim Gray (Variety) and Sasha Stone (Awards Daily).

Our Editors, we who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, are also divided, but strongly favor "The Revenant." Five out of the seven of us back the epic survival thriller: Chris Beachum, Rob Licuria and Matt Noble in addition to O'Neil and Sheehan. Marcus Dixon and I are forecasting "Spotlight."

Our users also project the two films are neck-and-neck, but both groups – the Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year's winners, and the more than 1,000 total Users contributing their picks to our predictions center – actually give the edge to "Spotlight."

Out of our Top 24, 12 are predicting the journalism drama will prevail, compared to eight favoring "The Revenant." Three more of them say "The Big Short," while last year's predictions contest leader, jeremy, is going out on a limb for "Room." Before we dismiss his pick, let's not forget that jeremy correctly predicted 96% of last year's winners, missing only one category.

Dish all the Oscar races in our red-hot forums with Hollywood insiders

Who do you think will win? Make your predictions beginning with Best Picture to the right or at the bottom of this post.

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 nominations). Be sure to read our contest rules.

Photo Credits: "The Revenant" by 20th Century Fox; "Spotlight" by Open Road Films

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