Were you planning on betting the 88th Academy Awards? Well then do I have 1,500 words just for you! Yes, this is something you can actually bet on and in some categories the odds are so ridiculous that you can probably expect a likely outcome. But there is some underdog potential at this year’s Oscars, or as I like to call it: “Mad Max Versus The World”.
ODDS TO WIN BEST PICTURE
The Revenant -160, Spotlight +200, The Big Short +300, The Martian +6600, Mad Max: Fury Road +6600, Room +6600, Bridge of Spies +15000, Brooklyn +20000
Yes, like all of you I’m betting the 88th Academy Oscars as if Mad Max: Fury Road is stealing the show but it’s not happening. The George Miller instant classic is a +6600 outside shot along with one of my favorites from this past year in The Martian.
The three headliners are listed above, and The Revenant is so refreshingly different than any of the other films that it seems impossible for the academy to go in any other direction.
Spotlight is absolutely brilliant and if you’re willing to bet an underdog, then this is probably the best choice. What makes Spotlight so powerful is the cultural message it reminds us of. It reflects back on a time when journalists had to mercilessly climb uphill battles in order to do what was right, instead of just kicking their feet up and tweeting about it.
There’s power, passion and incredibly powerful acting involved from all fronts, especially Mark Ruffalo who is up for a supporting actor nomination. It channels the anger and frustration from a begotten time where it was impossible to enact social change.
The problem for Spotlight is that you can say everything I just did about The Big Short as well. They’re different movies to a certain extent. The Big Short is witty, concise and flows through financial jargon in a clever (though not entirely revolutionary) way. “OMG! The dictionary’s definitions are floating on the screen!”
Both Spotlight and The Big Short properly galvanize the audience by echoing back on moments in history where things were shitty, and people tried to change it. We’ve sort of seen this done a million times.
This where The Revenant really gains some separation. Even though it’s a movie about something that supposedly happened in human history, you couldn’t care less. It’s filmed in such a beautiful way that you feel like you’re experiencing something completely different. It’s not that Spotlight and The Big Short aren’t awesome, but it’s not like they’re anything we haven’t seen before. They’re great movies. Bottom line.
The Revenant is on a level of brilliance like we rarely ever see. This isn’t to say that something different should automatically be canonized as a classic, like James Cameron’s reimagining of FernGully, More so, it’s when all of the elements of a great film come together to make something truly special and unique.
This is a tighter race than it should be, but The Revenant is poised to clean up at the Oscars unless Mad Max can do something about it. You think I’m joking?
ODDS TO WIN BEST DIRECTOR
Leader – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu -1200, George Miller +500
One of the most interesting subplots of betting the 88th Academy Awards is seeing how many head-to-head battles Mad Max: Fury Road and The Revenant are engaged in. They’re both up for Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, Best In Class, Best Besties and Best Bestersons. Ok, so those last few are made up.
The only category that Mad Max: Fury Road is favored in is costume design, and that seems like a no brainer at +115. In every other category that’s open to betting on the 88th Academy Awards, The Revenant is a clear favorite.
What’s difficult to deal with in the director category is scale. Inarritu filmed his masterpiece with such a broad scope that was able to narrow in at the right times, while taking in all the wonder of a winter frosted scenery. It’s magnificent to watch. It’s probably what hardcore stoners really wished “When Bears Attack” actually looked like.
Mad Max is different in a sense. It’s a movie that feels big, but is more about an absolute love of detail. George Miller’s mind shattering imagination is everywhere in this film. You can just feel how this entire production bleeds every part of his vision. It’s extraordinary on that level.
Let’s also not get past the fact that Miller accomplished something absolutely incredible with Mad Max: Fury Road. He made people give a shit about a straight up action movie. Oscar people. That doesn’t ever happen.
For my money, I’m taking Miller at 5-to-1 with a chip shot bet. I know Inarritu’s going to win. He did all the things the academy adores. So I’ll just see this money in Valhalla. WITNESS ME BURNING MONEY BY BETTING THE 88TH ACAADEMY AWARDS!!!!
ODDS TO WIN BEST ACTOR
Leaders – Leonardo DiCaprio -5000
Is this really the year? The oddsmakers most definitely think so. It’s perfectly apt to say that DiCaprio is a titanic favorite. Since his inception as a Hollywood star, he has travelled a revolutionary road that…I can’t do this corny bullshit.
If you’re willing to believe that DiCaprio’s -5000 odds to win best actor are suspect then you can bet on last year’s winner Eddie Redmayne for his role in The Danish Girl (where he plays a girl!) or Michael Fassbender’s sort-of unrealistic portrayal of Steve Jobs. Bryan Cranston trails the entire pack at +5000, while Matt Damon is getting +3300 for his portrayal of…uh…Matt Damon as an astronaut.
Nobody’s taking this Oscar from DiCaprio. Not even the Academy.
ODDS TO WIN BEST ACTRESS
Leaders – Brie Larson -2000, Saoirse Ronan +800
Nobody saw Brie Larson’s performance in Room coming at all. She felt more like a familiar face that you’d see in comedies and be like “Oh yeah! That girl!” Maybe it’s because I never watched The United States of Tara?
Either way, Larson has been raking it in at every single awards ceremony. She’s killed at SAG, Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice and BAFTA. It’s lunacy to think that she doesn’t go home with the gold statue here, unless Hollywood has some devious plans to shove Jennifer Lawrence down our throats even more. Don’t get me wrong – Lawrence is probably the best actress of her generation, but I can’t take a risk on her at +1600.
Frankly I wouldn’t get cheeky here and go for any other actresses (or female actor, whatever the hell women who act in movies want to be called these days). There’s no way Larson is losing this award. And I say that as I tout a bunch of potential upsets for those betting the 88th Academy Awards. This is the one category I’m convinced of the outcome.
ODDS TO WIN BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Leaders – Sly Stallone -250, Mark Rylance +200, Tom Hardy +1000
The cool thing about Sylvester Stallone being nominated for the same character is that it’s only happened five times before. Paul Newman won once for his portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson while Bing Cosby also claimed a nod from the academy for his interpretation of Father Chuck O’Malley. Al Pacino (as the Godfather), Cate Blanchett (as Queen Elizabeth) and Peter O’Toole (as Henry II) were all nominated twice for repeat performances but didn’t win.
Stallone is eerily powerful in his revival of the iconic character, which earned him a Best Actor nomination back in 1977 during the first installment of the franchise. Hollywood loves Rocky Balboa, and Sly has already taken a Golden Globe home for his work in this film.
That might be the problem. One thing you have to remember when betting the 88th Academy Awards is that the academy doesn’t like to just reiterate the Golden Globes. They like to think they know better, that they’re the biggest and most important game in town. In other categories they can’t really stray from the obvious choices unless they truly hate Leonardo DiCaprio that much (which is 100% possible).
This is where Maryk Rylance’s character of Rudolph Abel in Bridge of Spies comes in. Of all the actors nominated at the 88th Academy Awards, Rylance is the only other supporting actor who was also nominated at the globes for a supporting actor role. Bale and Ruffalo are longshots at the Oscars this year as supporting actors, but were contenders in the Golden Globes category of Best Performance in a Motion Picture (Actor) for Musical or Comedy.
Tom Hardy has some heavy value here at +1000 for his role in The Revenant, but truth be told, I couldn’t understand a single word he said. I would much prefer if he was nominated for Mad Max: Fury Road because I think he grunted more times than he annunciated actual words.
Trust me, I want Sylvester Stallone to win. He deserves it. But if there’s a screw job somewhere on this show, it’s right here with Rylance.
For more on betting the 88th Academy Awards, you can visit the sportsbook at Bodog. Enjoy the show.