Tom O'Neil's Inside Track

Tom O’Neil explains why Mahershala Ali is suddenly the new Oscar frontrunner

Over the past 10 days, Mahershala Ali (“Green Book”) has not only jumped ahead of Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”) in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actor, but Ali seems to have established a firm lead among the Experts making predictions at Gold Derby. Fifteen out of 25 Experts pick Ali; 6 predict Chalamet will prevail.

See the Experts’ latest rankings per category and racetrack odds in the 15 top races.

Up until recently, Chalamet consistently held a modest lead in this race. On Oct. 19, for example, 10 Experts picked him to win, 8 backed Ali. Chalamet seemed like the obvious fave because, well, for starters, a lot of people think he should’ve won Best Actor last year for his breakout performance in “Call Me By Your Name.” Now he’s got an even flashier part in “Beautiful Boy”: the kind of big, wigged-out, bug-eyed, high-kicking, grandstanding role that academy voters often adore. He plays a drug addict, sympathetically. Bingo.

By comparison, Ali’s role is quite subdued, reserved. No grandiose theatrics. So what’s going on here? Why is he suddenly pulling ahead of Chalamet by such a significant margin?