Experts’ Oscar predictions: ‘The Revenant’ zooms past ‘Spotlight’ for Best Picture after BAFTA sweep

“The Revenant,” which swept the BAFTA Awards on Sunday (Feb. 14), now has the backing of a majority of our 25 experts to win Best Picture at the Oscars. It leads over long-time frontrunner “Spotlight” by a margin of 13 votes to eight. That support gives this epic Western odds of 11/10 to take the top prize on Oscar Sunday (Feb. 28). “The Big Short” has the remaining four votes. (See individual predictions of experts HERE)

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The race began to shift towards “The Revenant” after its helmer, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, pulled off a jawdropper at the DGA Awards on Feb. 6 by winning for an unprecedented second year running. Prior to that just one expert — Tariq Khan (FOX News) — had been backing this 12-time Oscar nominee to win Best Picture.

Aware of the link between these two awards (only seven of the 67 DGA champs have not repeated at the Oscars), we are predicting Inarritu by a margin of 19 to 6 over one-time frontrunner George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”). 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 looks likely to do them one better as only the latter of each of their two wins was for a Best Picture champ. After all, BAFTA has foreseen six of the past seven winners of the top Oscar, missing only last year when it embraced “Boyhood” over “Birdman.” And the DGA has had 53 of its 67 winners go on to see their films take the top Oscar (i.e., 79% of the time).

Until Sunday, the majority of us had been touting “Spotlight,” the six-time Oscar nominee that 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). However, this docudrama only claimed one BAFTA (Original Screenplay). 

Likewise for five-time Oscar contender “The Big Short,” which won Best Adapted Screenplay at BAFTA. It had claimed Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America awards on Jan. 23. That was seen as a key win as that guild uses the same system of counting that the academy does to decide its winner. Indeed, it 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 13 experts predicting “The Revenant” are: Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Michael Hogan (Vanity Fair), Dave Karger (Fandango), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (, Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire), Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere), Susan Wloszczyna ( and me. That support translates into odds of 11/10.

The eight experts still backing “Spotlight” for the win are: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and Brian Truitt (USA Today). That equals odds of 23/10. 

The four favoring “The Big Short” are: Tim Gray (Variety), Nicole Sperling (EW), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) and Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times). That means odds of 5/1.

None of the other five nominees — “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Martian,” “Room,” “Bridge of Spies” and “Brooklyn” — has any first-place votes. They are ordered as seen in the chart above because of how each expert has ranked them otherwise. 

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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