Experts’ Oscar predictions: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (‘The Revenant’) leaps into lead after DGA win

According to our 23 Oscar experts, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is now the clear frontrunner to win Best Director for “The Revenant” after pulling off a jaw-dropping victory at the DGA awards on Saturday. Collectively, we journalists who cover the awards beat year-round had been expecting George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”) to win with the guild and then go on to claim the Oscar. Now, aware of the link between these two awards (only seven of the 67 DGA champs have not repeated at the Oscars), we are backing Inarritu by a margin of 16 to 7 over Miller

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Inarritu claimed the DGA prize last year for “Birdman,” which went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars and also won him awards for helming and writing. He would be the third back-to-back Best Director winner at the Oscars. John Ford won two of his record four Oscars consecutively for helming “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940) and “How Green Was My Valley” (1941). And Joseph L. Mankiewicz prevailed for “A Letter to Three Wives” (1949) and “All About Eve” (1950). 

Inarritu could go them one better as only the latter of each of their two wins was for a Best Picture champ. Currently, only five of our 23 experts are predicting that “The Revenant,” which leads with 12 nominations, will win Best Picture. However, the majority of us could be on the wrong track as the Directors Guild of America has the best track record at predicting the Best Picture champ with 53 of its 67 winners seeing their films take the top Oscar (i.e., 79% of the time).

A dozen experts are still predicting that “Spotlight” will win Best Picture. This six-time Oscar nominee won Best Ensemble from the Screen Actors Guild on January 30. That guild’s equivalent of Best Picture has forecast the academy’s top pick 10 times in its 20-year history (i.e., 50% of the time).

And six experts are still supporting “The Big Short,” which won Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America awards on Jan. 23. That guild uses the same system of counting that the academy does to decide its winner and has previewed all six Best Picture champs since the Oscars expanded this category and went to a preferential ballot. In its 25-year history, it has forecast 19 Best Picture winners  (i.e., 76% of the time). 

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in all 24 categories

The 16 experts backing Inarritu for the win are: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby),  Michael Musto (Out.com), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Sasha Stone (Awards DailyBrian Truitt (USA Today), Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times), Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com) and me. That support translates into leading odds of 8/15. 

The seven sticking with Miller are: Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Tim Gray (Variety), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Nicole Sperling (EW), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire) and  Peter Travers (Rolling Stone). This gives him odds of 12/5. 

None of the other three nominees — Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”), Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”) — has any first-place votes. 

Click here to see charts revealing how all of our Experts rank the contenders in all 24 categories. Be sure to click on each category to see the individual Experts predictions for that race.

And click here to see the rankings and odds generated by combining their predictions.

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