Who Will Win The Best Picture Oscar? This Year's Awards Are A Mixed Group

Going into the Golden Globes, Carol and Spotlight were widely regarded as the frontrunners for the Best Motion Picture, Drama, category. But then Alejandro G. Iñárritu's The Revenant swooped in for a Best Actor, Drama, win for Leonardo DiCaprio and a Best Motion Picture, Drama, win for its director and producers. The Birdman director's follow-up to his previous Best Picture win wasn't widely regarded as a contender prior to the Golden Globes victory, but bolstered by that win, it's become a frontrunner for the top prize come Oscars night. Still, The Revenant has some factors working against it — so which movie will win the Oscar for Best Picture?

This year's nominees run a gamut that includes science fiction, action flicks, book adaptations, and period pieces. (#OscarsSoWhite aside, it's a diverse crop by virtue of genre, even if also an overwhelmingly white selection.) As the awards season has progressed, the Academy has whittled away films — movies once believed to be classic Oscar bait like Carey Mulligan's Suffragette and Cate Blanchett's Truth were relegated to the scrap heap, and even last year's better Cate Blanchett movie Carol failed to receive a nomination. (Blanchett and co-star Rooney Mara are still nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.) With the mixed bag remaining, the Academy has a tough choice to make. Here's what the race looks like right now.

8. The Martian

The Martian won Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy, at the Golden Globes — which left many audience members scratching their heads. Aside from a few funny moments, and fewer musical moments, The Martian isn't really either musical or comedy. It's likely only included among these nominees because of that win, and because of the big names headlining the project. It's a great film, but it's not a Best Picture winner. Sorry, Martian, it's not going to happen.

7. Bridge of Spies

Nobody's favorite Best Picture nominee, yet still widely regarded as Great Cinema, Bridge of Spies has the marquee names to make it a contender. Tom Hanks, the Coen Brothers, Steven Spielberg — all previous nominees and winners, with the kind of understated period aesthetic the Academy tends to love. It's a long shot, but not totally implausible that Bridge of Spies takes home the prize.

6. Brooklyn

I hope Brooklyn wins a prize just so the Oscars can redeem themselves with a presenter able to pronounce Saoirse Ronan's name. Best Picture likely isn't that prize — while it's a great movie based on Colm Tóibín's sublime novel, it didn't have a wide enough reach to win Best Picture. It has been consistently nominated for best picture awards throughout the winter awards season, but also has yet to pick up any prizes generally considered to be Oscar predictors.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road

It pains me to give Mad Max: Fury Road such long odds, because if the awards were up to me, I'd give this one all the prizes. Still, the nomination alone was a coup for George Miller's comeback, and it'll likely win one of the various prizes for production value. (It's up for 10 awards total, just behind The Revenant's 12.)

4. Room

Brie Larson's a near shoe-in for the Best Actress award, but Room doesn't have quite as strong a shot at Best Picture. Its great strength is its performances, which could hurt it in a prize that rewards direction and production.

3. The Big Short

The Michael Lewis adaptation has earned an increasing amount of buzz as we approach Oscars time, and Variety has predicted that it will come out on top for Best Picture. Still, it doesn't have quite the momentum of the two films ahead of it in line for the award — Spotlight and The Revenant — so a win would still be a notable upset.

2. The Revenant

Indie Wire and GoldDerby, an awards predictor site, have both bet on The Revenant as the big winner at this year's Oscars. But as New York Magazine's Vulture noted, no director has ever made two consecutive Best Picture winners. Just as Cate Blanchett's chances at winning Best Actress are hindered not only because Brie Larson's performance in Room was objectively brilliant, but also because she too recently won for Blue Jasmine, Iñárritu will pull off a massive feat if he wins for both Birdman and The Revenant in back-to-back Oscars.

1. Spotlight

Spotlight was the frontrunner in the Golden Globes, and The Revenant upset doesn't necessarily hurt its chances for the Oscars. (People have tried, and failed, to find a correlation between Golden Globes winners and Oscar winners.) It's an excellent movie that manages to make investigative journalism — much of it taking place over fax machines and at early-'00s computer desktops — engaging and exciting. Plus, it takes a particularly important piece of journalism as its subject: The investigation into allegations of widespread child abuse in the Catholic church in Boston.

In the end, the ranking of these movies leading up to the Oscars doesn't really matter. There's just one winner. With a group as unwieldy (it numbers approximately 6,000 members) yet homogeneous (93 percent white, as reported by the Los Angeles Times in 2013), any of these eight could come out on top. Hey, it could even be The Martian.

Images: Open Road Films; Giphy (8)