Experts’ Oscar predictions update: ‘Spotlight’ solidifies lead, ‘The Martian’ moves ahead of ‘Joy’

Half of our 22 Oscar experts — journalists who cover this beat year-round for major media outlets like Variety, Yahoo and USA Today — are predicting that “Spotlight” will win Best Picture. That is up from eight votes just a week ago and improves its odds of prevailing to 11/2. This docudrama, which exposes the coverup by the Catholic church of pedophile priests in Boston, opened Friday to rave reviews. Buoyed by those great notices, it took in $300,000 at just five theaters. 

And, after another boffo weekend at the box office, “The Martian,” a sci-fi epic about the rescue of an astronaut marooned on Mars, picked up another vote and now has the support of five experts and odds of 8/1. That breaks its tie with “Joy,” the yet-to-screen drama inspired by the life of a Long Island homemaker turned inventor, which has odds of 17/2. (Click on the image above to explore these trends in-depth.)

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The critical and commercial success of “Spotlight” has moved Tom McCarthy into first place for Best Director, just ahead of long-time frontrunner David O. Russell (“Joy”). While each now has seven votes, McCarthy is ranked higher on more of the other ballots, giving him an edge in the odds of 10/3 versus 4/1 for Russell, a three-time also-ran in this race. “The Martian” helmer Ridley Scott has three votes and odds of 15/2 to finally win with his fourth bid. (See the complete breakdown in odds for these two races as well as the four acting and two screenplay categories below.)

Both actress races are runaways according to our experts: lead Brie Larson (“Room) and supporting player Rooney Mara (“Carol“). And “Spotlight” featured actor Michael Keaton has widened his advantage over one-time frontrunner Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation“)

But over in Best Actor, Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs“) has seen his longtime lead over Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) disappear. Two weeks ago, he had 12 experts backing him compared to just five for DiCaprio. However, as his film has struggled at the box office, his support has ebbed and he now has eight votes to 10 for Leo. (Because Fassbender is expected to reap a bid by all of our experts while DiCaprio is not, he still has a slight edge in our odds.) 

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See the Experts’ odds in all the top Oscar races. See how each Expert ranks the nominees according to likelihood of winning.

Here’s the Best Picture winner predictions of our 22 Oscarologists.

“Spotlight” (11 Experts)
Thelma Adams (Gold Derby)
Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post)
Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood)
Kevin Polowy (Yahoo)
Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby)
Keith Simanton (IMDB)
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)
Brian Truitt (USA Today)
Jeffrey Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere)
Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times)
Susan Wloszczyna (

“The Martian” (5 Experts)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)
Nicole Sperling (EW)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood)

“Joy” (4 Experts)
Edward Douglas (ComingSoon)
Tariq Khan (Fox News)
Michael Musto (
Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby)

Carol” (2 Experts)
Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair)
Christopher Rosen (EW)

Below, the Experts’ odds for the leading contenders in the top eight Oscar categories. Click on the category title for a more in-depth look at each race. And click here to see the Experts’ predictions in all top categories

“Spotlight” – 11/2
“Joy” – 8/1
“The Martian” – 17/2
“The Revenant” – 10/1
Steve Jobs” – 11/1
“Carol” – 11/1
Room” – 11/1
“Bridge of Spies” – 12/1
“Brooklyn” – 18/1
“The Hateful Eight” – 20/1

Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight” – 10/3
David O. Russell, “Joy” – 4/1
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “The Revenant” – 11/2
Ridley Scott, “The Martian” – 7/1
Todd Haynes, “Carol” – 10/1

Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs” – 14/5
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” – 10/3
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl” – 7/1
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass” – 8/1
Matt Damon, “The Martian” – 17/2

Brie Larson, “Room” – 9/4
Cate Blanchett, “Carol” – 4/1
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy” – 9/2
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn” – 13/2
Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years” – 22/1

Click here to see ups and downs of Oscar races over entire awards season

Michael Keaton, “Spotlight” – 14/5
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation” – 5/1
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” – 11/2
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight” – 6/1
Tom Hardy, “The Revenant” – 12/1

Rooney Mara, “Carol” – 11/5
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl” – 3/1
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs” – 9/2
Jane Fonda, “Youth” – 11/1
Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight” – 18/1

“Spotlight” – 12/5
“Joy” – 4/1
“Inside Out” – 9/2
“The Hateful Eight” – 6/1
“Bridge of Spies” – 10/1

“Steve Jobs” – 2/1
“Carol” – 11/2
“Room” – 11/2
“The Revenant” – 8/1
“Brooklyn” – 9/1

Compare Oscar odds: Experts vs. Editors vs. Top 24 Users vs. All Users

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 in-house team of 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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