Oscars 2016: Any Room for an upset?

The 88th Academy Awards takes place this Sunday 28th February. These awards have been heavily touted as the year DiCaprio will finally get his hands on the Best Actor prize which has long evaded him, and with odds as low as 1/100 in places, the bookmakers appear to agree.

Anthony Cousins, Unibet

Anthony Cousins, Unibet

Whilst this category may be a write off, there are plenty more in which the odds remain high and the outcome harder to predict. An intensive look across the markets reveals that there is some value to be found before the event gets started on Sunday evening.

Anthony Cousins, Head of Sportsbook at Unibet, said of the alterations in the market this year: “A few weeks ago it was looking like one of the most exciting Oscars ever, with only marginal favourites in the main categories. As the weeks have passed and other ceremonies have awarded their winners, favourites have strengthened and there seems fewer and fewer chances of upsets on the night.”

Importantly though there are still some. SBC News teamed up with Anthony Cousins to take a look at three markets; Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Director.

Best Supporting Actress 

Alicia Vikander of The Danish Girl is the bookies’ favourite here. The Swedish actress also excelled in the brilliant Ex-Machina, a recent role which will not have done her any harm in the eyes of the panel. Vikander won in this very category at both the Critic’s Choice and the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards earlier this year.

Consider this before you make a decision though, Kate Winslet, who’s available at 7/2 with Betway, picked up Best Supporting Actress at the BAFTAs and the Golden Globes. With this in mind, and the fact that the Academy members have favoured her in the past (she won an Oscar for The Reader in 2009), these odds seem generous.

Rooney Mara, at 6/1 with Betfair, is a decent outside bet for her role in Carol, which itself is also up for Best Costume Design.

Cousins’ Verdict: The Best Supporting Actress is perhaps the most interesting category. Rooney Mara has alienated herself from Oscar voters after speaking out about the films lack of nominations in the Best Picture and Best Director categories. Mara began our 1.50 favourite but has drifted out to odds of 7.00 blowing any chance she may have had.

Alicia Vikander is now the 1.33 favourite to win for The Danish Girl (even though she was arguably better in Ex-Machina) and has attracted 70% of the bets to win Best Supporting Actress. However, if you want to bet based on form, Kate Winslet has picked up the BAFTA to add to her Golden Globe for Steve Jobs and at 4.50 may be the value to add another Oscar to her collection.

Best Supporting Actor 

At the ripe old age of 69 Sylvester Stallone is favourite to win an Academy Award having been nominated twice in the past. Whilst he may be the people’s choice, thanks to his uniform role in the surprisingly good Creed, don’t count on it. Idris Elba, for an outstanding performance in Beasts of No Nation, topped the category in the Screen Actor’s Guild Award, whilst Bridge of Spies actor Mark Rylance won the BAFTA.

Stallone won the Critic’s Choice Award in what looks to be the perhaps the most open category despite the bookies’ clear belief in the Rocky star (odds of 3/8). Rylance is available at 5/2 with Unibet whilst Elba, somehow, didn’t make the cut for the Oscars.

Cousins’ Verdict: The Best Supporting Actor category is still one of interest with Sylvester Stallone a nostalgic favourite at 1.38. Sly has attracted 60% of the bets on him to win the Oscar, but British Actor Mark Rylance looks a big threat at 3.50 after taking home the BAFTA and we have seen more interest in him to win over the last few days.

Best Director 

With Leo expected to win Best Actor for his role in The Revenant, which is also backed to win Best Picture and Best Cinematography, it’s no great surprise that Alejandro González Iñárritu is favourite for Best Director.

Iñárritu won at the BAFTAs, but George Miller, director of Mad Max: Fury Road won at the Critic’s Choice. A look at the history of patterns of winners across the awards shows that since 1995 almost 80% of Critic’s Choice Best Director winners went on to win the Oscar in the same year.

Comparatively this trumps the BAFTAs, as in this category only 50% of winners have also picked up the Oscar in the same time period. Many film critics are stating that both Miller and Iñárritu deserve to win, the latter may pip the Australian to the post due to the extreme lengths both he and his crew went to deliver The Revenant. Only The Revenant received more nominations (12) than Mad Max: Fury Road with 10.

At 8/1 with Boylesports though, and considering the 70 year old director’s commitment to the industry throughout his career, not to mention the unique masterpiece which was Mad Max, Miller is surely worth a punt.

Cousins’ Verdict: We opened up at even money for Iñárritu to win Best Director for The Revenant. Those days are long gone, he is down to 1.12 after picking up the BAFTA, the Golden Globe and the Directors Guild award to name but a few.

It is 11 years since the Best Director did not also win the Best Picture award. The last time this happened was in 2005 with Ang Lee winning Best Director for Brokeback Mountain but losing out on the Best Picture prize to Crash. Inarritu’s success most likely serves as momentum for The Revenant being instilled as the 1.45 favourite having opened at odds of 2.65.

It would be a big shock ifIñárritu does not win, with George Miller most likely to benefit in such a scenario at odds of 6.00.

After many shock omissions this year, it is hard to be too surprised anymore by decisions the Academy members make!

Source: SBC News