Placing a bet or two on the outcome of the Oscars – the most prestigious movie award you could bag – is something that takes place all over the Western world. Each February, there is much speculation about the big awards, such as Best Feature Film and Best Leading Actor. Excitement tends to reach fever pitch after the Golden Globes which many entertainment writers see as something of a barometer for what will happen in the Oscars. Of course, this is not always true which is why many people think that the odds offered by bookmakers are more favourable than, for example, those offered on more predictable events like horse racing.
If you like to place the occasional bet but find the odds confusing, then you are certainly not alone. Basically, odds are presented as vulgar fractions. So, the odds of someone winning the Best Director award might be two to one, or 2/1. This means for every dollar you place on that individual to win, you would get two back (plus your stake). Odds of three to one, or 3/1, mean you’d get three times your stake. the higher the ratio expressed in the fraction, the more you would win which reflects the unlikelier chances of that individual winning. Evens simply means one to one, or 1/1. Where people get confused is when they see more complex fractions in the odds. This works in just the same way as you’d find on a racecourse or an online casino, however. For instance odds of 5 to 2, or 5/2, simply mean that you would get winnings of five dollars for every two that you bet. In other words, this is between 2/1 and 3/1, in this case the same as two-and-a-half to one.
If you are ever unsure about odds, then you can always convert the fraction concerned to a decimal figure. The higher the number, the longer shot you are betting on but the greater jackpot you could receive if you have backed the winner. This year, like any other, odds on the Oscars can vary right up until the last minute before the winners are announced. This happens because of the many rumours that circulate in Hollywood as well as bookmakers reacting to which nominees are attracting the least and fewest bets. Thinking about having a flutter on the Oscars this year? Read on to find out which bets look the most attractive at the moment and which ones offer less attractive odds.
Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson were New Zealand’s only winners to scoop this big prize back in 2003 for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. In 2019, Roma is the current odds on favourite with some bookmakers offering odds of 1/2 which means you’d win 50 cents for every dollar wagered if you chose to back it. The Green Book is worth looking at, with odds of 4/1. The aptly named historical drama, The Favourite, is currently the third favourite with odds of 7/1 to win. Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody are further out, with odds of 25/1, so you could win big if either of those two take the top award.
Best Leading Actor
Only Russell Crowe, who half the world thinks is Australian, has won a Best Leading Actor for New Zealand, following his performance in Gladiator in 2000. This year, Rami Malek is the strongest contender to scoop the award for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody in which he plays Freddie Mercury. His chances of winning, the bookmakers think, is 1/2. Christian Bale is the next frontrunner with odds of 2/1 for his portrayal of Dick Cheney in Vice. Bradley Cooper stands at 10/1 for the same film. Willem Dafoe is a longer shot at 50/1 for his touching performance as Vincent Van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate.
Best Leading Actress
Glenn Close is the firm favourite to win at this year’s awards ceremony. She has been nominated six times before as a leading actress but never won in that category. Her role in The Wife has led to odds being offered at 1/5 making her the odds on favourite. If you fancy a bet with more attractive odds, then you could do worse than have a punt on Olivia Colman for her lead role as Queen Anne in The Favourite which is in the vicinity of 9/2 depending on the particular bookmaker concerned. Lady Gaga’s performance in A Star Is Born is 8/1 while Yaliza Aparicio and Melissa McCarthy are further out to win, both at 35/1.
From New Zealand, only Jane Campion and Peter Jackson have been nominated for this big prize, with Jackson winning in 2003 following his unsuccessful earlier nomination two years before. In 2019, Alfonso Cuaron is the most widely tipped to win for Roma, with odds of 1/14 making him a relatively safe, if unrewarding, bet. Spike Lee offers more attractive odds at 9/1 for his movie, BlacKkKlansman. Two directors have odds of 33/1, Pawel Pawlikowski and Yorgos Lanthimos, for Cold War and The Favourite, respectively. Further out is Adam McKay for Vice who has odds of 40/1.
Best Foreign Language Film
A widely anticipated category, the 2019 shortlist of nominations includes Roma which has very short odds at 1/12. This favourite is followed by Cold War which has odds of 6/1. Shoplifters, a Japanese language movie, has the next best odds at 14/1. Capernaum and Never Look Away are at 28/1 and 33/1, respectively. Capernaum is set in Lebanon while Never Look Away is a German film.