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?

Tom O'Neil's Inside Track
Editor and President Tom O'Neil founded Gold Derby in 2000.
Tom's Latest Updated Predictions
Oscars Nominations 2019
( Best Picture )
Bet Points: 100
  • 1
    Green Book
    Green Book
    42/1
  • 2
    A Star Is Born
    A Star Is Born
    10/1
  • 3
    Roma
    Roma
    10/1
  • 4
    The Favourite
    The Favourite
    23/2
  • 5
    Black Panther
    Black Panther
    20/1
  • 6
    Vice
    Vice
    18/1
  • 7
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    If Beale Street Could Talk
    11/1
  • 8
    BlacKKKlansman
    BlacKkKlansman
    7/1
  • 9
    Bohemian Rhapsody
    Bohemian Rhapsody
    100/1
  • 10
    First Man
    First Man
    15/2
  • Updated on: 03 Nov 18, 22:32 pm PT