Why 'The Revenant' is a lot closer to winning a Best Picture Oscar -- but it's an uphill battle

The Golden Globes are always a bit unpredictable compared to the Oscars. That was no different on Sunday when “The Revenant” shocked many by taking home the biggest prize, for best dramatic film.

Many awards pundits thought “Spotlight” would walk away with the trophy, but it was a surprising shutout that night. “The Revenant” director Alejandro González Iñárritu also beat out “Spotlight” director Tom McCarthy, and the latter film (still a favourite in the Academy Awards) didn’t even get a single acting nomination.

Those wins, along with Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Actor Globe, added up to a sweeping victory for the gritty survival movie.

So what does that mean for Oscar night, which is on February 28?

When the Academy nominations are announced Thursday, you can expect both “The Revenant” and “Spotlight” in the Best Picture category, but it sounds like “The Revenant” hasn’t moved any closer to being the odds-on favourite to win the award.

“I don’t think it would be accurate to call ‘The Revenant’ a Best Picture frontrunner, since there’s no overlap between the Globes and Oscar voting bases,” Vanity Fair digital director Michael Hogan said.

The voting bodies of the two groups are vastly different in size. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which votes on the Globes, is around 90 members; the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, is around 7,000, and includes actors (the largest contingent) along with many others who work in the industry.

And looking back on Globes history, as Flavorwire did recently, Globes and Oscar Best Picture winners are the same only 50 per cent of the time.

Spotlight 1 finalOpen Road Films‘Spotlight.’

“I do think [The Revenant] is in the hunt now,” said Hogan, pointing out that the film’s impressive box office last weekend, almost overtaking “The Force Awakens” as the weekend’s No. 1, is a push in the right direction. “I think ‘Spotlight”s momentum has stalled considerably, but it certainly can’t be counted out.”

A big tell for how the Best Picture category will shake out comes from yet another awards show: the SAGs, or Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The movie that wins the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast has gone on to win Oscar’s Best Picture seven out of the last 10 years. The SAG Awards air on January 30.

This year’s nominees are “Spotlight,” “The Big Short,” “Beasts of No Nation,” “Straight Outta Compton,” and “Trumbo.”

That’s right: “The Revenant” isn’t nominated, which only builds the drama.

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