Betting on the Oscars – More Than a Two Horse Race
The New Year is just around the corner and with it, on January 16th, will come the 86th Academy Award nominations. For months now the internet has been buzzing with speculation about the 2014 Oscars, with rumors flying around which films will make the cut, which will be left out and who the possible winners are.
In case you’re not familiar with the Oscars, in short it is an awards ceremony to recognize the best in the previous year’s cinema. The awards cover a wide range of categories such as the best films, actors and actresses, directors, producers, screen writers, makeup artists and many more.
As always the greatest speculation is around the award for Best Picture and current common consensus is that the award will either go to “12 Years a Slave” or “Gravity”. As in the last few years, which pitted films such as “Avatar” against “The Hurt Locker”, it is a showdown between an expensive, special effects packed commercial success and a small budgeted film that deals with an important historical issue.
“Gravity” is the story of a medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) and astronaut (Matt Kowalsky) who encounter disaster while on a space shuttle flight. The two are left stranded in space, tethered to each other and must call upon all their bravery and ingenuity as they struggle to find a way to reach another space satellite and return to Earth.
“12 Years a Slave” is based upon the true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a pre-Civil War era slave from New York. Solomon deals with extreme cruelty and a sense of isolation in his 12 years as a slave before he has a chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist who changes his life forever.
Across the internet, and also at bookies William Hill, it is general thought that “12 Years a Slave” has a slightly better chance of winning the coveted Best Picture award. William Hill has given the film odds of 8/11 to win while there are odds of 3/1 available for “Gravity”. William Hill also has the two films’ directors as clear favorites for the Best Director award. Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) is favorite to win with odds of 8/11 but Steve McQueen is not far behind with odds of 13/8. Their closest competition comes from David O. Russell with his film American Hustle, but at 6/1 he is a long way behind.
In fact just these two films are tipped to be nominated for a huge range of awards, between them they have pretty much every category covered with the exception of Makeup and Hairstyling. However, there are a number of other excellent films in contention which are sure to be nominated for various awards.
Having recently won Best Film at the NYFCC Awards it seems certain that “American Hustle” will appear in a number of categories. The films tells the story of a brilliant con man played by Christian Bale, who together with his partner (played by Amy Adams), is forced to work for the FBI in the world of Jersey powerbrokers and mafia.
“American Hustle” has some great odds in a number of categories. It is third favorite to win Best Picture with odds of 5/1, as already mentioned director David O. Russell is also third favorite to win Best Director. Many also believe that it is a strong contender for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
However, it is still very early in the Oscar game and things are liable to change. It is rare that a year goes by without some kind of Oscar controversy and it’s hard to predict what form an upset could take. With that in mind it is worth having a quick look at some of 2013’s medium sized indie releases. Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine”, Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and real-life drama “Fruitvale Station” all did exceptionally well in the box office and there is some Oscar buzz surrounding them. Furthermore, bookies have singled them out as possible winners of the Best Picture award, even if their odds aren’t particularly impressive. “Blue Jasmine” has been set at 33/1, “The Butler” at 50/1 and “Fruitvale Station” at 100/1. That said if you truly believe that one of them is a winner then you have a fantastic opportunity to set yourself up for a massive pay day.
Of course, as already stated, with it being so early in the Oscar process all the odds could change drastically come next month. A few surprises in the nominations and the whole betting scene could quickly change. Nonetheless, for the true Oscar enthusiast now is a perfect time to get in the game and put your money where your mouth is.