Jennifer Aniston ambushes Oscar’s Best Actress race

What looked like a loooooong shot just five days ago is now official: Jennifer Aniston (“Cake“) will be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars, according to the latest expert predictions at Gold Derby.

On Monday, Aniston was in distant ninth place in our charts behind Amy Adams (“Big Eyes“), Shailene Woodley (“The Fault in Our Stars”) and Emily Blunt (“Into the Woods”). Our experts believed Hilary Swank (“The Homesman”) would take that fifth slot in the category where four other contenders seem like a lock: Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“), Reese Witherspoon (“Wild”), Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and Felicity Jones (“Theory of Everything”).

But Swank failed to show up in the nominations issued by the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Tuesday and the Golden Globes on Wednesday. Instead, Aniston made both cuts and now she’s got major momentum. Can she overtake frontrunner Moore?

Aniston has an awards-bait role as a pill-addicted woman scarred, literally, by the ravages of a car accident that killed her young son, but experts were skeptical of her kudos chances because “Cake” doesn’t have a major distributor. However, a veteran awards strategist was hired to spearhead Aniston’s campaign and that obviously made a key difference. In the past, Lisa Taback ballyhooed for Harvey Weinstein when “The King’s Speech” and “The Artist” won Best Picture and she’s worked for Paramount, Sony and other top studios, too.

See the rankings of Oscar contenders that combined the predictions of our experts

Aniston is now in fifth place in our charts with 16/1 odds. Do you agree that she’ll be nominated? Click here to make your predictions or use our menu below. Your choices impact Gold Derby’s official racetrack odds that our users wager against when making picks. Our user with the best Oscar nominations predictions will win $1,000.

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