SAG Film Awards: Our predictions contest leader reveals how ‘Spotlight’ beat ‘The Big Short’

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“‘Spotlight‘ I believe has this emotional advantage over ‘The Big Short‘ and tugs at people (i.e. the SAG actors) who feel that the film brought a sort of justice to the victims. It has a sort of heroic and sympathetic factor to it,” says Jordan DePaola, who got the highest score in our contest to predict the winners of the 2015 SAG Film Awards. (See the full leaderboard right here.)

DePaola actually tied with 50 other entrants but racked up the best point total of 8,155 by using his 500 and 200 point bets wisely. Since he is eligible, as per our contest rules, he wins our prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate.

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He hails from Americus, GA where he’s an 18-year-old aspiring screenwriter, director, producer, violist and occasional actor. As he recalls, “I came across Gold Derby in 2012 and it was my savior that I desperately needed. I was hungry to find out more about the upcoming awards season and really wanted to make predictions. I searched through numerous websites but Gold Derby was the perfect match for my interest.”

DePaola correctly predicted all six winners at the SAG Film Awards: “Spotlight” for Best Ensemble, Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) for Best Actor, Brie Larson (“Room”) for Best Actress, Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”) for Best Supporting Actor, Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) for Best Supporting Actress and “Mad Max: Fury Road” for Best Stunts.

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

Best Ensemble
“Spotlight” wants you to have this sympathy for those victims and praise for the journalists who uncover and exposed this scandal. It is like how “12 Years of Slave” basically depicted nothing but brutality to Solomon Northup. It made you feel sorry and weep for Solomon the victim of this abuse. “The Big Short” satires a very serious, complex topic to the best of its ability but does not touch you the way “Spotlight” does at the end. The direction that is given to the actors is a lot more focused and direct in “Spotlight” than in “The Big Short.” (I really would have loved to have seen “Carol” and “Room” among the nominees.)

Best Actor
DiCaprio was a no question in my mind. It is Leo’s year and no one is stopping him. This is Leo’s very overdue awards show sweep. (I really would have loved to seen Michael B. Jordan for “Creed” among the nominees.)

Best Actress
Larson was yet another no question in my mind. She blew me away in “Room” (and “Short Term 12”) and is a rising star as well. She is I guess you can say the new “it” girl of Hollywood. She did amazing work in this film and has actually been in the industry for quite sometime. It seems to be her awards season just like the women who came before her — Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”), Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) and Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”). (I really wish Rooney Mara would have been in here for “Carol” and Charlotte Rampling for “45 Years” and Emily Blunt for “Sicario.”)

Best Supporting Actor
After the Sylvester Stallone snub, I figured that Elba would take this away in a heartbeat. Even though he is not nominated for an Oscar he was still a triple nominee at SAG which says something. I know Mark Rylance had some pull but I thought after #OscarsSoWhite and the lack of diversity this would be SAG’s opportunity to redeem itself by giving the award to a minority. I am certainly not saying he was not deserving, in fact I think he is the rightful winner. (The only other person I wish would have been in this category is Benicio Del Toro for “Sicario.”)

Best Supporting Actress
I knew Vikander was going to WIN. It is her breakout year in American cinema with successful films such as “Ex Machina,” “The Danish Girl,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and “Testament of Youth.” (Let’s all forget about how burning “Burnt” was.) She is a rising starlet who we will all see even more of in the year to come. The only person I thought was a true threat was Kate Winslet and I honestly believe Kate still has the chance to win the Oscar. (The only person I wish was in this category would have been Marion Cotillard for “MacBeth” or even switch and put Alicia Vikander for “Ex Machina.”)

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.

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.

Photo Credit: Rob Latour/REX Shutterstock

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