On January 10th in the wee hours of the California morning, the nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards were announced. Within moments, sports books had begun making their own announcements – or rather, predictions – as to who would win and who would not.
The most popular Oscars betting markets revolve around the awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Picture. Thus far, 2013 Oscar betting odds favor Lincoln to win in four of the biggest categories – Best Picture, Best Director, Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor and Tommy Lee Jones for Best Supporting Actor.
On February 24th, 2013 at the Dolby Theater on famed Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, the 85th annual Academy Awards will inform bookmakers and bettors if their predictions were right. Below are median odds for several leading online sports books, subject to change of course, as La-la land's elite is a finicky bunch prone to wild mood swings and lightning speed changes in opinion. Aaahhhh…Hollywood!
BEST PICTURE ODDS – ACADEMY AWARDS 2013
- Lincoln: 3/1 odds to win
- Argo: 4/1 odds to win
- Les Miserables: 9/1 odds to win
- Life of Pi: 16/1 odds to win
- Silver Linings Playbook: 20/1 odds to win
- Zero Dark Thirty: 20/1 odds to win
- Amour: 40/1 odds to win
- Django Unchained: 75/1 odds to win
- Beasts of the Southern Wild: 100/1 odds to win
With just 10 days to go until the actual awards ceremony, the historical drama Lincoln is at the top of pretty much everyone's list. It didn't win Best Picture at the Golden Globes – a sign some consider to be the best indicator of Oscar success – but it has received exceptional reviews, and its director, Steven Spielberg, is always a favorite when nominated. Additionally, Lincoln seems to be gaining traction among mainstream Americans who once seemed reluctant to sit through a two-hour history lesson they learned in high school…and then promptly forgot.
That said, don't yet dismiss Ben Affleck’s Argo. It's running a close second, with book makers giving it 4/1 odds to win the Oscar. Keep in mind that Argo won the Golden Globe this year for Best Picture, and while this doesn't always translate into an Oscar win, the fact of Affleck's being shut out of the Best Director noms could actually help here.
There is a direct correlation between the Best Picture and Director awards. Usually, the film voted Best Picture has been directed by the person named (or at least nominated as) Best Director. In the case of Affleck, Academy voters may feel guilty for having left him out and, thus, split the Best Picture and Best Director Awards.
BEST DIRECTOR ODDS – ACADEMY AWARDS 2013
- Steven Spielberg (Lincoln): 1/5 odds to win
- Ang Lee (Life of Pi): 6/1 odds to win
- Michael Haneke (Amour): 10/1 odds to win
- David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook): 12/1 odds to win
- Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild): 33/1 odds to win
The nominees in this category came as something of a surprise, as there was an audible gasp from the audience when the announcement of the nominees concluded with little-known first-timer Benh Zeitlin, whose Beasts of the Southern Wild has taken Hollywood by storm.
Zeitlin wasn't the only shocker. Michael Haneke, Director of Amour – a French language film that is also up for Best Picture – was also nominated. Taken together, Zeitlin and Haneke took up two of the five slots that many guessed would be filled by Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, Directors of Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, respectively.
With the latter two power players out, that leaves Spielberg – and to a much lesser degree, Ang Lee – as the only household names in the category. Oscar odds put Spielberg at 1/5 to take home the Best Director trophy.
BEST ACTOR ODDS – ACADEMY AWARDS 2013
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln): 1/14 odds to win
- Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables): 9/1 odds to win
- Denzel Washington (Flight): 20/1 odds to win
- Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook): 25/1 odds to win
- Joaquin Phoenix (The Master): 25/1 odds to win
Daniel Day-Lewis is like Meryl Streep. In short, whether he is portraying one of America's most revered Presidents or shooting a home video of himself doing the hoola-hoop in a purple afro and footie pajamas, he'll a) get an Oscar nod and b) likely win.
This year is no different. His spot on performance in Lincoln has made him the clear favorite to win the Best Actor award, with 1/14 odds at most major bookmakers. While Joaquin and Denzel are formidable opponents and Hugh Jackman sang his heart out in Les Mis (Bradley Cooper, for his not-yet-fully-realized potential, is just ‘happy to be here'), none can compare to the greatness that is Day-Lewis.
BEST ACTRESS ODDS – ACADEMY AWARDS 2013
- Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook): 4/7 odds to win
- Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty): 7/4 odds to win
- Emannuelle Riva (Amour): 10/1 odds to win
- Naomi Watts (The Impossible): 20/1 odds to win
- Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild): 33/1 odds to win
There's always one history-making category at the Oscars (or so says Hollywood, whose idea of history can, at times, be a little skewed – see previously nominated Oscar films Gladiator, The Patriot, Shakespeare in Love, etc. etc.). This year, Hollywood happens to be right, with the Best Actress category breaking the mold.
Herein, the Academy has named its oldest and its youngest-ever nominees. Emmanuelle Riva, who stars in Amour, will celebrate her 86th birthday on Oscar night, making her the oldest actress to ever get an Oscar nod. Quvenzhane Wallis, who starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild when she was just five years old and is now a much more wizened nine, is the youngest nominee in Oscar history.
Both were fantastic in their respective roles – Wallis for seamlessly commanding the screen and carrying an entire film, and Riva for quietly capturing strength and decay in the same bottle – but it's Jennifer Lawrence of Silver Linings Playbook and Jessica Chastain that most sportsbooks like for the winner. Chastain was nominated last year for her role in The Help and has since appeared in numerous critically acclaimed films, and Lawrence is riding a tidal wave of Hollywood good will following her heroic role as Katniss Everdeen in The first Hunger Games film. Odds for Chastain to win are 7/4; for Lawrence it's 4/7.
Unfortunately for Naomi Watts, the fifth Best Actress nominee, her star vehicle did not receive a nod for Best Picture, which means there is next to no buzz – and therefore, next to no chance (despite her amazing effort) – that she will win.
And there you have it. The odds on favorites for this year's Oscar Big 4: Lincoln, Spielberg, Day-Lewis and Lawrence. If they win, you heard it here first. If they lose, sorry folks.