Indie Spirit Awards predictions: Will ‘Spotlight’ fend off ‘Carol’ to win Best Picture?

spotlight carol indie spirit awards

For the last six years in a row, the Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture has also been nominated for the top prize at the Oscars, and the two groups agreed on three of the last four winners (“The Artist” in 2011, “12 Years a Slave” in 2013, “Birdman” in 2014). Will this year’s event keep the streak alive?

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Only one of this year’s Spirit nominees for Best Picture is also up for the top Oscar, “Spotlight.” The docudrama is the frontrunner at this awards, which will be handed out on Saturday afternoon during a beachfront ceremony in Santa Monica, acccording to our combined predictions.

We polled Expert film journalists, Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Spirit winners and more than 1,000 total Users who make up our largest and often savviest bloc of predictors.

Ten out of 11 experts making their predictions are betting on “Spotlight,” giving it 2/11 odds: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Susan Wloszczyna (

Our last expert, Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), thinks the award will go to “Carol” (8/1 odds) which has more nominations (six) than any other film at this event. But it was snubbed at the Oscars for Picture and Director; does that hurt its chances here? No film since “The Wrestler” (2008) has won this award without a corresponding Oscar nom in the top race.

Our editors are also split. Five out of six of us are predicting “Spotlight”: Chris Beachum, Marcus Dixon, Matt Noble, Sheehan and myself. The sole outlier is Rob Licuria, who joins Adams by betting on “Spotlight.”

Twenty of our Top 24 Users also give “Spotlight” the advantage, compared to three for “Carol” and one renegade who is predicting a win for the stop-motion animated “Anomalisa.”

None of our experts, editors or top users are forecasting a victory for the remaining two nominees: “Beasts of No Nation” or “Tangerine.”

Experts’ Oscar predictions: ‘The Revenant’ for Best Picture, Director, Actor

Who do you think will win?

Make your Spirit Award predictions beginning with Best Picture to the right or below. Just log into your Gold Derby account (or you can register for a free account via Facebook, Twitter or Google) and then start casting your votes.

You’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate as well as 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 Spirit winners). Be sure to read our contest rules.

Gold Derby readers just like YOU often turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, so it’s important that you give us your predictions. You can continue to update and change your forecasts, just click “Save Predictions” when you’ve settled on your choice.

Photo credits: “Spotlight” by Open Road Films; “Carol” by Weinstein Company

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