Oscar odds: Betting the 85th Academy Awards

Feb 19, 2013 |
Oscar odds: Betting the 85th Academy Awards
There is plenty of underdog value when betting on the 85th Academy Awards.
There is plenty of underdog value when betting on the 85th Academy Awards.
If you're the betting type - and if you aren't, what are you doing here? - this year's Oscar race could be one of the most lively in recent memory. A lot of the big races remain fairly wide open, even the top prize, which all but guarantees a few upsets. So let's get right to it:


Lincoln +500 (-250 after nomination, -222 before nomination)
Les Miserables +6,600 (+500, +400)
Zero Dark Thirty +15,000 (+600, +500)
Argo -666 (+700, +700)
Silver Linings Playbook +5,000 (+2,500, +2,500)
Life of Pi +6,600 (+2,500, +2,500)
Amour +15,000 (+5,000, N/A)
Beasts of the Southern Wild +20,000 (+10,000, N/A)
Django Unchained +15,000 (+10,000, N/A)

What Will Win: When Ben Affleck failed to land a best director nod for Argo (-666), it looked like the movie's chances at the big burrito were nil. But then Argo went on to win best picture at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, and the Producers Guild Awards. That's hard to ignore. Still, don't count out the much-loved and much-nominated Silver Linings Playbook (+5,000), which has Oscar-whisperer Harvey Weinstein behind it.

What Should Win:
For once, the most Oscar-baity movie in contention, Lincoln (+500), is also the best. Tony Kushner's screenplay is brilliant - exactly the kind of refined, literate material Oscar voters claim to want. In reality, of course, they prefer crowd-pleasers, which is why Lincoln was always doomed (Also a worthy choice: Zero Dark Thirty +15,000).


Steven Spielberg - Lincoln -400 (-400 after nomination, -140 before nomination)
Ang Lee - Life Of Pi +450 (+500, +2,000)
Michael Heneke - Amour +1,600 (+1,000, +3,300)
David O Russell - Silver Linings Playbook +2,000 (+1,200, +2,500)
Benh Zeitlin - Beasts of the Southern Wild +8,000 (+2,800, N/A)

Who Will Win: With Affleck out of the running, it's hard to know where this category is going. The obvious choice is Steven Spielberg (-400), but Oscar voters have always been a bit cool to him and many consider Lincoln to be Kushner and Daniel Day-Lewis's baby. Don't be surprised if David O. Russell (+2,000), Ang Lee (+450), or even Michael Haneke (+1,600) get called to the podium.

Who Should Win: Great directing shouldn't be synonymous with showy directing and Spielberg - one of the showiest directors alive - deserves props for playing it smooth and subtle this time around.


Jennifer Lawrence - Silver Linings Playbook -181 (-222 after nomination, -200 before nomination)
Jessica Chastain - Zero Dark Thirty +400 (+200, +185)
Emannuelle Riva - Amour +325 (+800, +1,600)
Naomi Watts - The Impossible +4,000 (+2,000, N/A)
Quvenzhane Wallis - Beast of the Southern Wild +6,600 (+2,500, +2,500)

Who Will Win: This one's a real tough call, with both Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook (-181) and Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty (+400) running neck-and-neck. On the one hand, Chastain has a lot more screen time, but on the other, Lawrence has the more likeable character. We give Lawrence the edge.

Who Should Win: Frankly, we'd be fine with any of the nominees, except for that Quvenzhané Wallis kid from Beasts of the Southern Wild (+6,600). She was freakin' six years old. She could barely go poopy by herself.


Daniel Day Lewis - Lincoln -5,000 (-1,000 after nomination, -625 before nomination)
Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables +1,200 (+700, +700)
Denzel Washington - Flight +8,000 (+1,400, +1,000)
Joaquin Phoenix - The Master + 6,600 (+1,600, +1,600)
Bradley Cooper - Silver Linings Playbook +8,000 (+2,800, +2,500)

Who Will Win: One of the safer bets of the evening, this is Daniel Day-Lewis's (-5,000) prize to lose. He won most of the precursor awards and everybody in Hollywood pretty much reveres the guy. One caveat: if the similarly admired Joaquin Phoenix (+6,600) splits the serious-thespian vote, Bradley Cooper (+8,000) could swoop in from behind.

Who Should Win:
Day-Lewis, who is so great as Lincoln you feel no one else need ever play the role again.


Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables -5,000
Sally Field - Lincoln +2,500
Amy Adams - The Master +2,800
Helen Hunt - The Sessions +3,300
Jacki Weaver - Silver Linings Playbook +10,000

Who Will Win: This is the other safe bet of the evening. Anne Hathaway's (-5,000) unbearable over-emoting in Les Misérables has impressed a lot of people, even those who thought Les Miz stank up the screen. Plus, that one-take rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" is a ready-made Oscar clip.

Who Should Win: Her role in Silver Linings Playbook was tiny, but Jackie Weaver (+10,000) really made you want her crabby snax and homemades.


Tommy Lee Jones - Lincoln +125
Christopher Waltz - Django Unchained +150
Phillip Seymour Hoffman - The Master +800
Robert De Niro - Silver Linings Playbook +700
Alan Arkin- Argo +5,000

Who Will Win: This is, hands down, the most confounding category of the night. Literally any of the five nominees could take it. Our guess is it'll come down to Lincoln's Tommy Lee Jones (+125), Argo's Alan Arkin (+5,000), or Silver Linings Playbook's Robert De Niro (+700), with a slight edge to De Niro as the sentimental favorite.

Who Should Win: Again, we'd be happy to see any of these guys win, but Philip Seymour Hoffman (+800) worked his butt off in The Master - he's practically the lead -and giving him the award would be a nice way of recognizing writer-director P.T. Anderson's risky but imperfect film.

Scott MacDonald writes about cinema for Toronto Standard. You can follow him on Twitter at @scottpmac.

Desktop View: Switch to Mobile View