The Oscars aren't until Feb. 24, but it looks like a few races are already over, according to the 24 experts polled by Gold Derby.
Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables") and Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln") get overwhelming odds to win Best Supporting Actress and Lead Actor, but other top contests are still wide open – and some are cliffhangers. While 13 experts pick "Lincoln" to reap Best Picture, for example, 10 back "Argo" and one opts for "Silver Linings Playbook." (See breakdown of pundits' picks here.)
Theoretically, "Lincoln" should be a shoo-in to prevail. It leads with the most nominations (12), which usually translates into Best Picture victory and it has one key bid that "Argo" lacks: Best Director. Normally, absence from that category spells doom for the film's hope of snagging the top Oscar, but the snub could actually work in Ben Affleck's favor if Hollywood rallies behind his film in sympathy. "Argo" is suddenly getting a lot of kudos love. It recently won Best Picture and Director at the Golden Globes and Critics' Choice Awards where "Lincoln" led with the most nominations.
The 10 pundits who now pick "Argo" to bag the top Oscar too are: Thelma Adams (Yahoo), Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Guy Lodge (Hitfix), Steve Pond (TheWrap), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Chuck Walton (Fandango) and me.
Backing "Lincoln": Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Richard Horgan (Mediabistro), Dave Karger (Fandango), Michael Musto (Village Voice), Kevin Polowy (Next Movie), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Alex Suskind (Moviefone), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood, Indiewire), Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times) and Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today).
Betting on "Silver Linings Playbook": Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere).
The battle over Best Actress is also competitive with Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playback") slightly ahead with the votes of 14 experts who give her 2-to-1 racetrack odds. But Jessica Chastain ("Zero Dark Thirty") is close behind with 8 pundits giving her 13-to-5 odds. Both stars recently won Golden Globes and gave impressive acceptance speeches. Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") and Naomi Watts ("The Impossible") have the support of one pundit apiece.
Tommy Lee Jones ("Lincoln") has a significant lead in the race for Best Supporting Actor with 13 gurus giving him 21-to-10 odds, but eight gurus predict Robert De Niro ("Silver Linings Playbook") with prevail, two say it will be Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained") and two pick Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master").
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Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.