Experts’ Oscar predictions: ‘The Revenant’ rising fast after BAFTAs; ‘Spotlight, ‘The Big Short’ sliding

According to our 23 Oscar experts, “The Revenant” is on the rise in the Best Picture race following its sweep of the BAFTA Awards on Sunday (Feb. 14). Collectively, we journalists who cover the awards beat year-round have been predicting “Spotlight” to win the top Oscar but that docudrama only claimed one BAFTA (Original Screenplay. While this long-time frontrunner still has 11 votes, “The Revenant” now has seven. That is up from just one — Tariq Khan (FOX News) — who was backing this epic Western, which contends for a leading 12 Oscars in all, even before helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu pulled off a jawdropper at the DGA Awards on Feb. 6 by winning for an unprecedented second year running. (See individual predictions of experts HERE)

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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 16 to 7 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 could go 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).

Six-time Oscar nominee “Spotlight” 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 five-time contender “The Big Short” 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 11 experts backing “Spotlight” for the win are: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Dave Karger (Fandango), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Keith Simanton (IMDB), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood/ Indiewire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone).  Brian Truitt (USA Today) and Susan Wloszczyna ( That support translates into leading odds of 5/4. 

The seven saying “The Revenant” are: Edward Douglas (Weekend Warrior),  Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (, Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby),  Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly) and me. This equals odds of 5/2. 

The five favoring “The Big Short” are: Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tim Gray (Variety),  Nicole Sperling (EW), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily) and Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times). That means odds of 4/1. 

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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