Best Supporting Actor throwdown: Is Mahershala Ali still the statistical frontrunner over Dev Patel at 2017 Oscars?

Dev Patel’s recent BAFTA Awards victory for his role in “Lion” has sent him surging in our Gold Derby racetrack odds, but is he really a viable threat to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor? Let’s crunch the numbers to find out. With less than two weeks to go before Hollywood’s biggest night, Patel is in striking distance of longtime frontrunner Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”), who has been enjoying a comfortable lead in our prediction center with 2/9 odds. Patel is now in second place with 16/1 odds, but which one is more likely to win the Oscar on February 26?

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It is an interesting fact that the Golden Globes have been the most accurate precursor of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in recent history. Thirteen out of 20 Globe winners (65%) have gone on to take home the Oscar. This strong statistic can be thrown out the window, however, since this year’s champ Aaron Taylor-Johnson (“Nocturnal Animals”) was notably snubbed by the academy. Another five out of the last 20 Oscar winners (25%) were nominated for the Globe, but failed to win there. This works in the favor of Ali and Patel, who were both nominated, making this piece of data useless.

The next most accurate precursor has been the Screen Actors Guild Awards, with 12 of 20 winners (60%) going on to claim the Oscar. This gives a significant boost to Ali, who took home the SAG and earned bonus points for giving one of the best speeches of the night. Patel, who was at least nominated here, can hold onto hope knowing that six of 20 supporting actors who lost at SAG (30%) were able to rebound on Oscar night, including reigning champ Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”).

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Up next are the Critics’ Choice Awards, where 10 of the last 20 winners (50%) have held on through the long awards season to bring home the golden statue. This statistic once again favors this year’s Critics’ Choice winner, Ali. Patel was still nominated here, however, putting him on the path of five of the last 15 Oscar champs (33%) who lost at Critics’ Choice but won the Oscar anyway.

Finally, we have the BAFTA Awards, where Patel recently prevailed to make this race somewhat interesting. Nine of the last 20 BAFTA winners (45%) were able to translate those wins into Oscars. Ali takes a significant hit here because in the last 20 years, only five actors who were nominated at BAFTA and lost went on to win the Oscar (25%). Surprisingly, in six of the last 20 years (30%) the Oscar winner wasn’t even nominated at BAFTA.

Photo Gallery: Every Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner

All things considered, when you multiply all these statistics together the actor with the best data on his side (by a considerable margin) continues to be Ali. Patel’s BAFTA win gives him the only real chance among the other nominees to be a spoiler. Statistically speaking, Jeff Bridges (“Hell or High Water”), Lucas Hedges (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Michael Shannon (“Nocturnal Animals”) won’t need to prepare any Oscar speeches this year.

Video produced by David Janove

Predict the Oscar winners now; change them till February 26

Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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