Oscar experts predictions (Best Actor): Fassbender now ahead of Redmayne & Depp, DiCaprio falls to fourth

Our Oscar Experts — journalists from leading outlets such as Variety, USA Today and Yahoo — have been busy updating their predictions for Best Actor in the wake of three film festivals: Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Above, a comparison of what we were thinking four weeks ago versus today. (Click on the image to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars at the bottom of that page) And below, a breakdown of our individual votes for the four leading contenders. (See how the experts fill out their Oscar ballots in this and eight other top races HERE)

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Ten of the last 20 Best Actor champs, including the last three in a row, won for playing a real-life person. This year all five of our predicted nominees are in contention for such performances. 

Six Experts are predicting that one-time Supporting Actor nominee  Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013) will win Best Actor for his portrayal of the mercurial computer whiz in “Steve Jobs.” Such support translates into leading odds of 10/3. The film from Oscar champ Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) was deemed a stand-out when it debuted at Telluride. It skipped Toronto, rather than being shunted to the second week but will be the Centerpiece of the New York Film Festival on Oct. 3. (See the odds for all the top Oscar races HERE.)

Tied for second with odds of 9/2 each are last year’s Oscar champ Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) for his performance as the transgendered Lill Elbe in Oscar winner Tom Hooper‘s “The Danish Girl” and three-time Oscar nominee Johnny Depp for his portrayal of Boston crime boss turned FBI informant Whitey Bulger in Scott Cooper‘s “Black Mass. While Depp has four Experts in his corner to Redmayne’s three, they are tied because of of their relative placement on our individual predictions. 

That also explains why Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant“) is in third place with odds of 5/1, despite having the votes of four Experts. In Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s still-unscreened film, DiCaprio plays legendary frontiersman Hugh Glass, who is mauled by a bear and left for dead by the rest of his hunting party. He treks 200 miles across the Dakota Territory to exact his revenge. 

Rounding out the top five, albeit with no Expert predicting him to prevail is six-time Emmy champ Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) for his performance as blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in Jay Roach‘s “Trumbo.” Last year Cranston won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Lyndon B. Johnson in the Best Play champ “All the Way.” 

Oscar experts’ predictions:
‘Spotlight’ now leads for Best Picture; ‘Joy,’ ‘Steve Jobs,’ ‘
The Revenant’ tied for second

Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs” (6 Experts)
Edward Douglas (ComingSoon)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)
Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood)

Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl” (3 Experts)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)

Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” (4 Experts)
Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
Susan Wloszczyna (RogetEbert.com)

Johnny Depp, “Black Mass” (4 Experts)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)

Make your Oscar predictions and you could earn 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 nominations).

Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby’s Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

Which group will be victorious this year? 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.

As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

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