Usually, when Tariq Khan and I debate our Oscar predictions every year, we treat the experience like it’s a blood sport between two drunken gladiators. In lots of fun videos and audio podcasts, you can enjoy two Oscar prediction experts battle over the hottest categories. OK, let’s admit it. We often deliberately act like roaring nitwits just to up our schtick’s entertainment value (in the frivolous spirit of Hollywoood, after all), but this year it’s hard to clash. Tariq and I agree on too many categories, darn it. But, hey, at least we disagree with most of our rival Experts at Gold Derby!
Here’s how. Currently, 16 out of 28 pundits pick “Nomadland” to win Best Picture, while Tariq and I are among the 8 naysayers who bet on “The Trial of the Chicago 7” instead. Why?
Well, for starters, we believe that most of the “Nomadland” disciples are behind it largely because it’s won most of the precursor prizes for Best Picture from rival award groups so far this derby season. Yes, that’s true, “but if you look back over the past few years, the film that won the most precursors – ‘The Revenant,’ ‘Lala Land,’ ‘Three Billboards,’ ‘Roma,’ ‘1917’ last year — all those films lost Best Picture at the Oscars.”
The reason, Tariq believes: pundits forgot to take into account that the Oscars use a peculiar balloting process only for the Best Picture race, asking voters to rank the nominees instead of picking just one winner. Indeed, “Nomadland” probably has the most number-one votes among the ballots, but it’s a divisive film that may be ranked low by many other academy members.
The movie that wins the top Academy Award usually has the most number-two and number-three votes, Tariq notes, “And that’s how you win — by being that consensus choice, getting high votes across the board.”
See all of the Experts’ predictions for Best Picture here. Use the drop-down menu on that page to view our rankings in the other 22 Oscar races, too.
Disagree with their picks? Make your predictions here. Can you beat our Experts?
BELOW: Listen to the audio podcast version of our chat.