Experts’ Oscar predictions update: ‘Spotlight’ pulls further ahead of ‘Joy’ with ‘The Martian’ rising fast

Half of our 22 Oscar experts — journalists who cover this beat year-round for major media outlets like Variety, Yahoo and USA Today — are now predicting that “Spotlight” will win Best Picture. That is up from eight votes just a week ago and improves its odds to 11/2. This docudrama, which exposes the coverup by the Catholic church of pedophile priests in Boston, opened Friday to rave reviews. It scoried a jaw-dropping 96 at Rotten Tomatoes (which grades on a pass/fail basis) and 91 on the sliding scale at MetaCritic.

Joy,” the yet-to-screen drama inspired by the life of a Long Island homemaker turned inventor, is down one to four votes. And box office sensation “The Martian,” a sci-fi epic about the rescue of an astronaut marooned on Mars, has doubled its support to four experts and is now tied with “Joy” at  odds of 17/2. (Click on the image above to explore these trends in-depth by selecting various dates in the two calendars.)

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That boffo reaction to “Spotlight” has propelled 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 continue to have clear frontrunners according to our experts: lead Brie Larson (“Room) and supporting player Rooney Mara (“Carol“). And it looks like “Spotlight” featured actor Michael Keaton has solidified his lead over Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation“). 

But over in Best Actor, Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs“) faces a strong challenge from Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”). Just nine days ago, he had a clear edge by a vote of 12 to 5. However, as Fassbender’s film has struggled at the box office, his support has slipped away and he now has just a two vote lead (10-8) over Leo, who is a five-time Oscar also-ran. 

Dish all the Oscar races in our red-hot forums with Hollywood insiders

See the Experts’ odds in nine Oscar races. See how each Expert ranks the nominees according to likelihood of winning. (Click on the image below to see how all 22 Experts rank the Best Picture contenders.)

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 (

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

“The Martian” (3 Experts)
Tim Gray (Variety)
Nicole Sperling (EW)
Sasha Stone (AwardsDaily)
Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood)

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

“Bridge of Spies” (1 Expert)
Jack Mathews (Gold Derby)

Experts Oscar predictions: Top 9 categories

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 9 categories

“Spotlight” – 11/2
“Joy” – 17/2
“The Martian” – 17/2
“The Revenant” – 10/1
Steve Jobs” – 11/1
“Carol” – 11/1
“Bridge of Spies” – 12/1
Room” – 11/1
“Brooklyn” – 20/1
“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” – 15/2
Todd Haynes, “Carol” – 10/1

Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs” – 5/2
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant” – 7/2
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl” – 13/2
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass” – 8/1
Matt Damon, “The Martian” – 17/2

Brie Larson, “Room” – 21/10
Cate Blanchett, “Carol” – 4/1
Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy” – 5/1
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn” – 7/1
Carey Mulligan, “Suffragette” – 22/1

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

Michael Keaton, “Spotlight” – 10/3
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation” – 9/2
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” – 11/2
Mark Ruffalo, “Spotlight” – 13/2
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” – 5/2
“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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