Awards Forecast: With Oscar Nominations Set, Is ‘Spotlight’ Still The Best-Picture Front-Runner?

Each week, Uproxx’s Awards Forecast offers an assessment of who/what will be nominated for Oscars come January, based on pundit chatter and pre-Oscar awards. (The pundit analysis is based on opinions put forward by leading Oscar trackers, including Kyle Buchanan of Vulture, the expert panel at Gold Derby, Indiewire‘s Peter Knegt, Awards Daily and Awards Circuit. Pre-Oscar awards consider recent nominations and/or winners announced by industry and critic organizations that annually recognize achievement in film.)

In the six major categories, two things seem unlikely to change between now and Feb. 28, Oscar Sunday: the front-runners for Best Actor and Actress. Every major pundit is calling the former race for DiCaprio and, while there are some rumblings about Charlotte Rampling pulling off an upset, the latter for Larson. In the other two acting categories, there’s a bit more uncertainty, but coming off their recent wins on award shows that were broadcast on national television, Stallone and Vikander seem to have momentum on their sides. On the Best Picture and Best Director fronts, the consensus seems to be that in both categories, one of three films will likely be rewarded: Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant –which is another way of saying there’s not a solid consensus right now. There easily could be a split, with Spotlight winning Best Picture and Miller taking best director, while The Revenant and Iñárritu are passed over since the director and his Birdman won last year. Then again, I could be totally wrong. Stay tuned.

The slightly lower profile Oscar categories can be harder to call. But the winners in these six races already have the feel of foregone conclusions. Original Screenplay is very competitive, but every professional Academy Awards forecaster is leaning toward Spotlight. Most of them also are pointing at The Big Short in the Adapted Screenplay race, which makes sense since that film’s success relies so heavily on translating complicated financial-crisis concepts into relatable dramedy. I am so confident that Inside Out will win for Best Animated Feature that if it doesn’t, I vow to set my head on fire in an homage to Lewis Black’s Anger. Son of Saul has been labeled Foreign Language front-runner since long before the nominations were announced, while Amy appears to have the advantage in Best Documentary. (Music docs have won two out of the past three years, and Amy snagged more attention overall this year than What Happened, Miss Simone?)

Singer/songwriter Linda Perry generated some headlines this week by tweet-alleging that Lady Gaga barely qualifies for a co-writing credit on her and Diane Warren’s nominated tune, “Til It Happens to You.” But that mini-controversy mostly succeeded at raising more awareness of the song, which focuses, like the documentary that inspired it, on the complicated feelings and issues that arise in the aftermath of rape.