The Oscar champ this year for Best Supporting Actor could very well be a first-time contender. Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) has a comfortable lead right now over Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) for the victory. Other strong potential nominees include past winner Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”), previous nominees Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”) and Liam Neeson (“Silence), and rookie Dev Patel (“Lion”). Those are just six of the men in our latest Gold Derby rankings set by 28 Oscar Experts with their predictions. Their top 15 contenders are now featured in a new photo gallery (view above).
Ali leads our list with 23/10 odds for a complicated role as both a drug dealer and helpful mentor. He has never been nominated at the Oscars before.
Hedges is in second place with 4/1 odds for playing a high school student who must move in with his dour uncle in New England. He would also be a first-time contender if nominated.
Bridges has 11/2 odds in the third position for playing a retiring Texas Ranger looking for two bank robbers. He won an Oscar as Best Actor for “Crazy Heart” (2009) among his six career nominations. The other films were “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” (1974), “Starman” (1984), “The Contender” (2000), and “True Grit” (2010).
The fourth spot is held by potential first-timer Patel with 7/1 odds. He plays an adopted man in Australia still looking for his birth family in India many years later.
Shannon is in fifth place with 11/1 odds for playing a Texas detective searching for three murderers and rapists. His prior nomination was as Best Supporting Actor for “Revolutionary Road” (2008).
Neeson has 20/1 odds for our sixth slot playing Father Cristovao Ferreira, a missing priest in Japan. He has one previous nomination as Best Actor for “Schindler’s List” (1993).
Others in our photo gallery: Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”), Kevin Costner (“Hidden Figures”), Timothy Spall (“Denial”), Alan Rickman (“Eye in the Sky”), Steve Martin (“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”), Vince Vaughn (“Hacksaw Ridge”), and Jovan Adepo, Stephen Henderson, and Mykelti Williamson (“Fences”).
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think these actors will do with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.