Oscar predictions update: Tom McCarthy (‘Spotlight’) pulls ahead of David O. Russell (‘Joy)

“Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy just broke his tie for first place with “Joy” helmer David O. Russell. These multi-hyphenates are also doing battle in Best Original Screenplay where McCarthy has led since late September. While we have yet to see Russell’s film — which stars Jennifer Lawrence as a struggling single mother who strikes it rich with an invention — “Spotlight” opened 10 days ago to standout reviews. 

Critics praised the deft direction by McCarthy of this docudrama that details the efforts of a team of Boston Globe reporters to expose the coverup of pedophile priests by the local Catholic diocese. He now has the backing of eight of of the 22 experts at Gold Derby (Oscarwatchers at Yahoo, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, etc.). That’s up by one from last week and boosts his odds of winning to 3-to-1 (from 10-to-3). 

Three weeks ago, Ridley Scott didn’t even make the top five for his direction of the blockbuster sci-fi epic “The Martian.” Today, with his film continuing to score at the box office, Sir Ridley is sitting in third place (up one from last week). While he still has just four votes, the rest of us are ranking him higher on our ballots and he now has odds of 6-to-1 to finally win an Oscar after three losses. 

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“The Revenant“) lost one of his two votes as Brian Truitt (USA Today) switched to McCarthy. He dropped to a tie for third with odds of 6-to-1.

To blame: While Inarritu won three Oscars last year for co-writing, directing and producing “Birdman,” we have yet to see his new film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a real-life frontiersman seeking revenge on his fellow hunters that left him for dead after a bear attack.  

See the Oscar predictions of the 22 experts in 16 top categories. See latest racetrack odds.

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