Just how big a lock is Alfonso Cuaron (‘Roma’) for Best Director Oscar? A few renegade Experts are betting against him

Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”) has won the Golden Globe, BAFTA Award, Directors Guild Award, and a slew of critics awards for helming his semi-autobiographical drama about life in Mexico City in the 1970s, so he’s pretty much unbeatable at the Oscars, right? Well, most of us are betting on him to prevail, but out of the thousands of users currently making their predictions at Gold Derby, there are many who are boldly betting on an upset.

As of this writing Cuaron is the overwhelming favorite with leading odds of 31/10. He’s backed by every Editor who covers awards year-round for Gold Derby, almost all of our Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Oscars, and almost all of our All-Star Top 24 who had the best prediction scores when you combine the last two years’ results. But out of the 33 Expert journalists we’ve polled thus far from top media outlets, 4 say Spike Lee (“BlacKkKlansman”) will pull off a stunner of an upset.

Grae Drake (Rotten Tomatoes), Andrea Mandell (USA Today), Keith Simanton (IMDb) and Brian Truitt (USA Today) all say Lee will beat Cuaron. Lee has certainly kept up with Cuaron every step of the way in terms of nominations. He contended at the Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, DGA Awards and BAFTAs, and he won the BAFTA for his adapted screenplay, so we know the industry is behind him.

There’s also the fact that a Spike Lee victory would make Oscar history. Cuaron already won Best Director just a few years ago for “Gravity” (2013), while Lee was never even nominated for this award before now. Lee is now only the sixth black director to earn a nomination at the Oscars, and he would be the first ever to win. That could factor into the decision-making of voters, especially since the motion picture academy has significantly expanded and diversified in recent years.

It’s still risky to bet against such an overwhelming awards sweep like Cuaron has had in recent months, but when it comes to predicting the Oscars it’s no guts, no glory.

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.

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