Michael Keaton soars ahead of Steve Carell in Oscar Best Actor race

There has been a dramatic shift in our experts’ Oscar predictions for Best Actor: Michael Keaton now leads for his role as a washed-up movie star trying to make a comeback in “Birdman.”

Can Telluride sensation ‘Foxcatcher’ pin down Oscars?

That means Steve Carell, who was our experts’ frontrunner just a few weeks ago, has slipped to second place for playing John du Pont in the fact-based drama “Foxcatcher.” After years of being cruelly denied an Emmy for “The Office” by the TV academy, will the motion picture academy also leave him hanging?

The sudden surge of support for Keaton comes from the slew of rave reviews that “Birdman” received on the festival circuit. The graph below illustrates Keaton’s trajectory: he passed Carell on September 1, five days after the film’s world premiere in Venice and two days after its August 30 bow in Telluride (click the graph for more detailed odds).

See more of our experts’ predictions below, which shows there’s also support for Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“) and Bill Murray (“St. Vincent“). (Click the chart to see more.)

The next battleground for the two films will be the New York Film Festival, where they screen for press and industry one day apart: “Foxcatcher” on October 10, and “Birdman” on October 11.

But “Birdman” will have a month’s head start in general release. It opens on October 17, while “Foxcatcher” will keep audiences waiting until November 14.

Will Jake Gyllenhaal return to Oscars with TIFF hit ‘Nightcrawler’?

Do you think Steve Carell will bounce back? Will Michael Keaton hold on to his lead? Or are we underestimating another crucial contender? Use our drag-and-drop menu to make or edit your predictions below.

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