Oscars experts: Julianne Moore (‘Still Alice’) widens lead; ‘Selma’ rises again

Julianne Moore “(“Still Alice“) has widened her lead in the Best Actress race even further this week. She earned SAG and Globe nominations for her performance as an academic suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s and got another Globe bid for her bravura work in the serio-comic “Maps to the Stars.” Now backed by a staggering 22 of our 26 Oscarologists, she has odds of 17 to 10 to win.

Her closest rival is Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“) who also picked up two nods this week. She has the support of four of our Experts for her change-of-pace role as a woman in a downward spiral who embarks on a 1000-mile hike in hopes of a fresh start. This one-time Oscar champ (“Walk the Line,” 2005) has odds of 10/3 to pick up a bookend. 

Rounding out the race are three other women who are each SAG/Globe contenders as well. While those nominations solidified the standings of Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl“) and Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything“), who are now at 13/2 and 15/2 respectively, they boosted Jennifer Aniston (“Cake“) into the top tier for the first time this season with odds of 16/1. 

Why are so many of our pundits so pro Moore over these other worthy women? She has three key factors in her favor this year.

One of Hollywood’s favorite leading ladies, Moore is still without an Oscar despite four nominations. The last  two of those bids — “Far From Heaven” and “The Hours” — came in the same year, 2002. She was bested in the lead race by “The Hours” co-star Nicole Kidman while the supporting award went to Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Chicago”). While Kidman had contended the year before (“Moulin Rouge!”) and did so again in 2010 (“Rabbit Hole”) that marked the only nomination for Mrs. Michael Douglas. (Moore’s other losses had been in supporting in 1997 for “Boogie Nights” to Kim Basinger for “L.A. Confidential” and in lead in 1999 for “The End of the Affair” to Hilary Swank for “Boys Don’ Cry.”)

Moore could well win both lead actress races at the Golden Globes. She is all but a lock for the Drama Actress award for this film while she is a strong contender over in comedy/musical for “Maps,” which won her the Best Actress prize at Cannes. Another overdue Oscar also-ran, Kate Winslet, pulled off two wins here in 2008 taking home the Drama Actress prize for “Revolutionary Road” and the supporting actress award for “The Reader.” After Academy voters bumped her up to lead for “The Reader,” she finally won an Oscar after five losses. 

And Moore is portraying someone forced to deal with diminished mental capacity. That has been catnip for Oscar voters for decades. Just among the lead categories, eight winners have prevailed for playing such parts: Ronald Colman as an actor who loses his grip in “A Double Life,” (1947); Joanne Woodward as a young woman with multiple personalities (“The Three Faces of Eve,” 1957); Cliff Robertson as a mentally challenged man who is temporarily cured (“Charly,” 1968); Peter Finch as a newsanchor who snaps (“Network,” 1976); Henry Fonda as an aging patriarch (“On Golden Pond,” 1981); Dustin Hoffman as an autistic savant (“Rain Man,” 1988); Geoffrey Rush as an unstable pianist (“Shine,” 1996); and Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in her dotage (“The Iron Lady,” 2011). 

The 22 Experts in Moore’s corner are: Thelma Adams (Thelmadams.comMatt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Mike Cidoni (AP),  Scott Feinberg (Hollywood Reporter), Thom Geier,  Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Mary Milliken (Reuters), Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Steve Pond (The Wrap), Jenelle Riley (Variety), Christopher Rosen (Huffington Post), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Nicole Sperling (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Jeff Wells (Hollywood-Elsewhere), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and me. 

The four Experts for Witherspoon are:  Edward Douglas (Comingsoon), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo) and Glenn Whipp (L.A. Times).

In the Best Picture race, “Boyhood” (odds of 4/1) remains far out front with the support of 16 of our 26 pundits. However, “Selma” has moved closer this week with the backing of seven Oscarologists (up from four) and odds of 6/1. “Birdman,” which led both SAG and Globe nominations, now has two boosters (up from one) and odds of 13/2. The Imitation Game” has one vote and odds of 8/1. 

Click here to see charts revealing how all of our Experts rank the contenders in all top categories according to likelihood of winning. And click on each underlined category below to see the individual Experts predictions for that race. Then make your own predictions here. Be the best and win bragging rights AND $1,000. 

See latest Oscar rankings when the Experts’ predictions are combined

Our 26 Experts are predicting “Boyhood” to win five Academy Awards in all:  Best Picture, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Original Screenplay and Editing. 

Interstellar” is expected to take home four Oscars: Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. 

Into the Woods” also is predicted to prevail in three categories (Costume Design, Makeup & Hairstyling, Production Design).

Birdman” will claim two Academy Awards — Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Cinematography.

Still Alice” is predicted to win Best Actress while Whiplash” should net an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons, and “The Imitation Game” is forecast to win Adapted Screenplay. 

Click here to see how they rank contenders in top Oscar races. Click here to see the rankings and odds generated by combining the experts’ predictions.

Below: The experts’ latest collective rankings and odds for the top six categories (click on each category to see more detailed results). 

Best Picture
1.  “Boyhood” – 4/1
2.  “Selma” – 6/1
3.  “Birdman” – 13/2
4.  “The Imitation Game” – 8/1
5.  “The Theory of Everything” – 10/1
6.  “Unbroken” – 14/1
7.  “Whiplash” – 20/1
8.  “Gone Girl”– 20/1
9.  “Foxcatcher” – 20/1
10. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” – 33/1

Change from last week: “Selma” breaks its tie with “Birdman” while “Unbroken” slips two spots and “Grand Budapest” cracks the top 10.  

Best Director
1. Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” – 19/10
2. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “Birdman” – 10/3
3. Ava DuVernay, “Selma”– 11/2
4. Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken” – 14/1
5. David Fincher, “Gone Girl” – 20/1

Change from last week: Angelina Jolie (“Unbroken”) and David Fincher (“Gone Girl”) sees their odds lengthen. 

Best Actor
1. Michael Keaton, “Birdman” – 23/10
2. Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” – 12/5
3. Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game” – 11/2
4. David Oyelowo, “Selma” – 6/1
5. Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher” – 12/1

Change from last week: The standings remain the same but Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) has improved his odds again. 

Best Actress
1. Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” – 13/8
2. Reese Witherspoon, “Wild” – 10/3
3. Rosamund PIke, “Gone Girl” – 13/2
4. Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything” – 15/2
5. Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”  – 16/1

Change from last week: Hilary Swank (“The Homesman”) lost her slot to Jennifer Aniston (“Cake”).   

Best Supporting Actor
1. J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” – 8/5
2. Edward Norton, “Birdman” – 10/3
3. Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood” – 11/2
4. Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher” – 6/1
5.Tom Wilkinson (“Selma”) – 25/1

Change from last week: J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) has strengthened his lead while Tom Wilkinson (“Selma”) has weakened his hold on fifth place; waiting in the wings is SAG/Globe nominee Robert Duvall (“The Judge”). 

Best Supporting Actress
1. Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” – 9/5
2. Emma Stone, “Birdman” – 11/2
3. Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game” – 15/2 
4. Laura Dern, “Wild” – 15/2 
5. Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods” – 15/2

Change from last week: Emma Stone (“Birdman) and Laura Dern (“Wild) swap places again. 

What are your Oscar predictions? Make your picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Actress champ using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Golden Globes, Grammys, “Survivor,” “The Voice,” and more.

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