Best Actor Oscar odds: Benedict Cumberbatch (‘Power of the Dog’) closing in on Will Smith (‘King Richard’)

King Richard” and “The Power of the Dog” both exceeded expectations in the Oscar nominations, and they’re the only two Best Picture nominees with lead actors in contention: Will Smith and Benedict Cumberbatch, respectively. Smith has led our Best Actor odds for almost the entire fall and winter awards season so far. But might Cumberbatch be closing in on him?

“King Richard” received six nominations, including an unexpected bid for Best Film Editing. The sports drama has had impressive results all season, earning a SAG Award nomination for its ensemble cast and four total BAFTA noms. Smith himself is nominated for Best Actor at both of those events, and at the Oscars he’s only the second Black actor to earn nominations for producing and acting in the same film, following Denzel Washington (“Fences”). This is Smith’s third nomination, and it could be his overdue coronation, similar to Julia Roberts‘s Oscar for “Erin Brockovich” or Sandra Bullock‘s for “The Blind Side” — after years as a movie star, finally the embrace of the motion picture academy.

But Cumberbatch could also be considered due for the gold. He was previously nominated for “The Imitation Game” and has put together a resume that includes film and television, blockbusters and prestige fare. And “Power of the Dog” earned a leading 12 nominations including bids for all four principal members of its cast. So we know academy members love the film. Still, Smith has been a Hollywood star more than twice as long, so Oscar voters might want to pay out his IOU first.

As of this writing Smith remains the front-runner with 10/3 odds based on the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users. He’s backed by 10 of the Expert journalists we’ve surveyed, compared to two picking Cumberbatch and one going for Andrew Garfield (“Tick, Tick… Boom!”). Smith was similarly far ahead with Experts in the nominations round.

But it’s a whole different story when you ask the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Oscars. In the nominations round Smith was predicted by 20 Top Users compared to just two for Cumberbatch, but now the margin is much narrower. Now Smith is forecast by 13 Top Users and 11 are putting their money on Cumberbatch. Are they right that this race is tighter than it used to be since “Power of the Dog” bulldozed the Oscar noms?

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

Oscar odds for Best Picture
What will win?

More News from GoldDerby