Oscars 2014: A Vegas oddsmaker ranks the races

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Image Credit: Anne Marie Fox (2); Jessica Miglio; Jaap Buitendijk

Once upon a time, unsuspecting people actually filled out their office Oscar pool ballots based on their favorite movies of the year. (Those poor, uninformed souls!) But now that the Academy Awards are subject to as much speculation as a Triple Crown race, there’s hard data we can all use to our betting advantage — and nobody knows it better than professional oddsmaker R.J. Bell, founder of Pregame.com.

For the past 10 years, Bell has polled betting venues around the world to find out which nominees are favored by the people putting real money on the race. “It’s not any personal opinion on my part; it’s a quantification of the market,” Bell says. His research shows a few movies with commanding leads in their categories:

12 Years a Slave is a 71 percent favorite, and Blue Jasmine star Cate Blanchett has a whopping 85 percent probability of bringing an Oscar home. The tightest race in the major categories is Best Original Screenplay, which pits Her (46 percent) against American Hustle (40 percent).

Of course, even an oddsmaker has favorites. “As an aficionado, I strongly think that Dallas Buyers Club is better than a 50-to-1 shot,” he says. “But that doesn’t change the odds.” So before you fill out that ballot, check out Bell’s stats below — and be sure to check out EW’s annual Oscar Odds issue, on stands now.

Best Picture
12 Years a Slave: 71% chance ($300 wins $100)
Gravity: 16% chance ($100 wins $500)
American Hustle: 7% chance ($100 wins $1,200)
The Wolf of Wall Street: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
The Dallas Buyers Club: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
Captain Phillips: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
Her: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
Nebraska: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)
Philomena: .5% chance ($100 wins $20,000)

Best Director
Alfonso Cuaron: 81% chance ($1,000 wins $100)
Steve McQueen: 13% chance ($100 wins $600)
David O. Russell: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
Martin Scorsese: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)
Alexander Payne: 1% chance ($100 wins $10,000)

Best Actor
Matthew McConaughey: 74% chance ($500 wins $100)
Chiwetel Ejiofor: 13% chance ($100 wins $600)
Leonardo DiCaprio: 10% chance ($100 wins $800)
Bruce Dern: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)
Christan Bale: 1% chance ($100 wins $10,000)

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett: 85% chance ($1,200 wins $100)
Amy Adams: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
Sandra Bullock: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)
Judi Dench: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,300)
Meryl Streep: 2% chance ($100 wins $5,000)

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto: 81% chance ($1,000 wins $100)
Michael Fassbender: 11% chance ($100 wins $700)
Jonah Hill: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
Barkhad Adbi: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,000)
Bradley Cooper: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)

Best Supporting Actress
Lupita Nyong’o: 65% chance ($250 wins $100)
Jennifer Lawrence: 28% chance ($100 wins $225)
June Squibb: 3% chance ($100 wins $3,300)
Julia Roberts: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)
Sally Hawkins: 2% chance ($100 wins $4,000)

Best Adapted Screenplay
12 Years a Slave: 75% chance ($600 wins $100)
Philomena: 8% chance ($100 wins $1,000)
Before Midnight: 7% chance ($100 wins $1,200)
The Wolf of Wall Street: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
Captain Phillips: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)

Best Original Screenplay
Her: 46% chance ($110 wins $100)
American Hustle: 40% chance ($100 wins $120)
Blue Jasmine: 6% chance ($100 wins $1,500)
Dallas Buyers Club: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)
Nebraska: 4% chance ($100 wins $2,000)


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