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Academy Awards Betting

88th Academy Awards Betting Predictions
Date/Time: Sunday, February 28th, 8:30 PM EST
Where: Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA
By Mike M, Entertainment Handicapper,

With the Academy Awards right around the corner, below is a rundown of each of the nominees up for the four main acting awards along with the candidates for tops in movie and director.  The categories are listed in the order that the trophies will be presented on Oscar night, with wagering odds in parentheses provided by Bovada Sportsbook.


Sylvester Stallone (-400) – Creed – In 1977 Sylvester Stallone became the third person in Oscar history to be nominated for both an acting and writing award in the same year after he wrote and starred in ‘Rocky’, which was nominated for ten Academy Awards and eventually won three, including Best Picture.  39 years later, Stallone is up for his performance as a now retired Rocky in the movie Creed and is easily one of the fan favorites that many are hoping will win the award.  Since 1977, the only major awards he has won or been nominated for have been Razzies, which have been given annually since 1981 to the worst performances in film.  Stallone won the award for Worst Actor of the Decade for the 1990s and followed that up with a Worst Actor of the Century award in 2000.  While picking him as the worst of a century may seem a bit harsh, if you watch his movies ‘Judge Dredd’, the arm wrestling masterpiece that was ‘Over the Top’ or his comedic gem ‘Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot’ co-starring Estelle Getty, you may understand why the Razzies went in the direction they did.

Mark Rylance (+350) – Bridge of Spies – The English Actor/Director/Playwright is most known for his work in the theatre that has earned him three Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards throughout his illustrious stage career. Over the past year Rylance has now been nominated for both an Oscar and an Emmy award for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for his work on the BBC mini-series ‘Wolf Hall’.  He will be working with Steven Spielberg again as the title character in the upcoming Disney movie ‘The BFG’ (which stands for Big Friendly Giant), which will be Spielberg’s first time directing a movie for Disney and the combination of the iconic director with the legendary company should rake in a box office bonanza after it opens in July.

Tom Hardy (+1000) – The Revenant – Hardy’s nomination for Best Supporting Actor is the first of his career and it would be a great surprise if he didn’t add to that total in the near future, especially considering the fact that he played a major role in two of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture this year, not only ‘The Revenant’ but also the title character in ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’.  With his cast mate Leonardo DiCaprio expected to claim the award for best actor, a win by Hardy would make the duo only the 6th Best Actor/Best Supporting Actor combination in Oscar history to win the awards for the same movie, with it last being done back in 2013 by Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.

Christian Bale (+1600) – The Big Short – Bale’s portrayal of hedge fund manager Michael Burry earned him his third Academy Award nomination and first in a movie not directed by David O. Russell, who guided Bale to a Best Supporting Actor win for ‘The Fighter’ in 2011 and a lead performance nomination in 2014 for ‘American Hustle’.  It appears that while the various awards shows all agreed that Bale’s performance in ‘The Big Short’ could be considered trophy worth, they apparently had a tough time coming to a consensus on whether or he was worthy of ‘lead’ or ‘supporting’ classification, as he was nominated for the Oscar and SAG awards for supporting and Golden Globe/Critics Choice award for the lead role in a comedy.

Mark Ruffalo  (+2500) – Spotlight – Ruffalo is another actor who is in the midst of an incredible run of success over the past few years. After being nominated for his first Oscar in 2011 for Best Supporting Actor in the movie ‘The Kids Are All Right’, Ruffalo followed that with performances in the box office hits ‘The Avengers’ in 2012 and ‘Now You See Me’ in 2013.  The following year was his most successful, as he was not only nominated for his second Academy Award for Best Supporting actor in ‘The Foxcatcher’, he also produced and starred in the HBO original ‘The Normal Heart’ which went on to win an Emmy award for Outstanding Movie.  While Ruffalo probably won’t win his first Oscar this year, things are shaping up for a lucrative next few years for him, especially with plenty of future roles for his Hulk character in the variety of spinoff ‘Avenger’ movies on the horizon and also the heavily anticipated sequel to ‘Now You See Me’ due out in June of this year.


Alicia Vikander (-300) – The Danish Girl  - There is no doubt that Vikander deserved an Oscar nomination her work in ‘The Danish Girl’, though many thought her performance in Ex Machina might have been even better.  The Golden Globes and BAFTA awards apparently agreed with this line of thinking, as both gave her lead actress nomination for ‘The Danish Girl’ and a second nomination for her supporting work in ‘Ex Machina’. Recent winning trends are definitely in Vikander’s favor, as The Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards have both agreed upon and given the Best Supporting Actress trophy to same person who won the Academy Award for the last six years in a row, and Vikanderhas already taken home the prize this year in both the SAG and CC awards.

Rooney Mara (+250) – Carol – Mara is one of two people up for an Academy Award for their work in 2015 that also have the less than honorable accolade of being nominated for a Razzie, with Rooney getting her nod for controversial role of Tiger Lilly in the profoundly panned ‘Pan’.  While many know Mara for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander from the smash book/movie hit ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, she also has the interesting distinction of having major ties to the NFL on both sides of her family, with being the grand-daughter of Wellington Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants and great grand-daughter of Art Rooney, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Kate Winslet (+650) – Steve Jobs – This year’s Oscar nomination is the seventh of Winslet’s career, which ties her for 13th all-time in Academy Award history.  She has been up for Best Supporting Actress two other times in her career (Sense and Sensibility and Iris), while being nominated four times for her lead performances in ‘Titanic’, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, ‘Little Children’ and the 2007 movie The Reader, for which she won the Academy Award for her role as Hanna Schmitz.  She also shares a distinction with Alicia Silverstone as being one of two actresses that blessed their sons by giving them the first name of ‘Bear’, and if you find that interesting, the next person up on the Supporting Actress list changed her middle name in the beginning on her acting career to Jason to honor family friend and longtime actor, Jason Robards.

Jennifer Jason Leigh (+3300) – The Hateful Eight – This is the veteran actress’ first nomination for an Oscar, but certainly not the first character she has been offered to play that went on to win or be up for an award.  Leigh’s has passed on a veritable smorgasbord of roles throughout her career that have gone on to win their performer high praise and recognition, such as; Julie Roberts in ‘Pretty Woman’, Julianne Moore in ‘Boogie Nights’, Demi Moore in ‘Ghost’, Jennifer Connolly in ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and take your pick of the various Jodie Foster roles that Leigh turned down for ‘Taxi Driver’,’ The Accused’, ’Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Nell’. 

Rachel McAdams (+4500) – Spotlight – At 45-1 odds, McAdams is the biggest underdog of any performer/movie up for an Oscar this year, though you can imagine many watching at home will be rooting for her after the numerous fan favorite movies she has starred in, such as ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Wedding Crashers’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and your sister’s favorite movie, ‘The Notebook’.  Some have speculated that her chances of winning are so slim due to the stain of being part of what was the disastrously disappointing season two of ‘True Detective’, but that isn’t completely fair as McAdams was one of the only redeemable parts of that train wreck of a series sequel.


Leonardo DiCaprio (-5000) – The Revenant – It’s easy to understand why DiCaprio is the biggest favorite in the Oscar acting field, not only for his dominating performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass, but also because he is long overdue to win the award in what is his fifth Oscar nomination and fourth for a leading role.  While he has been recognized with chances at Academy Awards in the past for ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘The Aviator’ and ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’, this list doesn’t include many fan favorite movies that he easily could have been up for like ‘The Departed’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Shutter Island’ and “Inception’.  Much like the Best Actress category, this race is essentially over before Oscar night even begins.

Eddie Redmayne (+1000) – The Danish Girl – After winning the Academy Award for best actor last year for his performance of Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything’, Redmayne is looking to join some esteemed company if he can pull out an upset win against DiCaprio. If he is able to take home the trophy for his work in ‘The Danish Girl’ it would make him just the third person in Oscar history to win back-to-back best actor awards, along with Spencer Tracy (1937-1938) and Tom Hanks (1993-1994).

Michael Fassbender (+1200) – Steve Jobs – The lead acting nomination is Fassbender’s second chance at an Oscar in the past three years after being up for a supporting actor award for his work in ‘12 Years a Slave’.  Many were skeptical of how his portrayal of Steve Jobs could possibly exceed the master thespian work of Aston Kutcher who played the same character in the 2013 movie ‘Jobs’, but Fassbender was somehow able to outshine Demi Moore’s second husband performance on his way to earning the nomination.

Matt Damon (+3300) – The Martian – Damon already took home the Golden Globe award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his role in ‘The Martian’, his first ever Globe win for acting, and he will look to duplicate similar success by taking home his initial Oscar in a performance category, after having been nominated for Supporting Actor for ‘Invictus’ and Best Actor for ‘Good Will Hunting’ but getting his sole win for Best Original Screenplay that he shared with Ben Affleck for ‘Good Will Hunting’.  ‘The Martian’ marked the third year in a row that Damon played a role in a space related movie (‘Elysium’ and ‘Interstellar’ being the others), but next year his universal exploits will be put aside for a return to the boundless action character Jason Bourne for the fourth time in his career and the first since 2007.

Bryan Cranston (+5000) – Trumbo – The nomination for his role of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo is Cranston’s first ever chance at an Oscar, after already having been up for nine Emmy awards for his performances on ‘Malcolm and the Middle’ and playing the legendary character Walter White from ‘Breaking Bad’, a role that earned him four wins for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  Though he never was up for any awards for it, many will forever remember Cranston from ‘Seinfeld’ as the “re-gifter” who later got Jerry accused of being an “anti-dentite”.


Brie Larson (-2000) – The Room - The strongest award indicator for success in winning the Academy Award for Best Actress has been the Golden Globe awards, which has given the award to the same actress as the Oscar’s for thirteen straight years and in 26 of the last 29.  Larson already took home this years’ Golden Globe award (along with the SAG and Critics Choice) and appears to be a near certainty to win in her first ever Oscar nomination for her performance as Joy “Ma” Newsome in ‘The Room’.

Saoirse Ronan (+800) – Brooklyn – After starting her career doing Irish public service TV, Ronan earned her first Oscar nomination for best Supporting Actress at the age of 13 in 2007 for Atonement, which was just her third cinematic acting role.  Two years later she won the BAFTA award for Best Actress for ‘The Lovely Bone’s and would soon follow that up as the title character in the vastly underrated movie ‘Hanna’, which also featured another one of this year’s nominees for Best Actress, Cate Blanchett. Ronan may not be able to overcome Brie Larson this year, but she is appears to be someone we will be seeing down the road in the running for many an award.

Jennifer Lawrence (+1600) – Joy – It has been an incredible six year run for Lawrence, who has recovered nicely after the beginning of her career was stuck in neutral for three seasons of the uproariously terrible ‘Bill Engvall Show’ on TBS from 2007-2009.  Since, Lawrence has been nominated for four Academy Awards, once for supporting actress (‘American Hustle’) and three times for lead actress, starting in 2010 for ‘Winter’s Bone’ and then again two years later when she won the award for ‘Silver Lining’s Playbook’. Her next major roll will be in the Stephen Spielberg directed ‘It’s What I Do’, where she plays kidnapped wartime photojournalist Lynsey Addario and odds are Lawrence will be back on the Oscar nomination list for that one too.

Cate Blanchett (+1600)– Carol – This is Blanchett’s sixth Oscar nomination, the most career noms of any actor or actress up for a lead role award this year.  She will be looking to earn her third award after winning for Best Actress in 2013 for ‘Blue Jasmine’ and Best Supporting Actress for ‘The Aviator’ in 2004, and a win would put the Australian performer in rare company, as only two actresses have ever won Best Actress twice in a three-year span, Luise Rainer in 1936/1937 and Katherine Hepburn in 1967/1968.  She is already part of a unique group of just ten actor/actresses who have been nominated for two different movies in the same year, when in 2007 she was up for Best Actress for ‘Elizabeth’ and Best Supporting Actress for ‘I’m Not There’.

Charlotte Rampling (+4000) – 45 Years – Rampling is the easily the biggest longshot of those up for Best Actress and is the only nominee whose movie is not up for Best Picture.  The former 60’s model and fashion icon has already won a variety of overseas awards for her performance in ‘45 Years’, (such as the European Film Award for Best Actress and London Film Critic’s Circle Award for Actress of the Year), but doesn’t appear to have much of a chance for this year’s Oscar, most notably because of the rule made in 2006 that anyone associated with the travesty that was ‘Basic Instinct 2’ is on trophy probation and not allowed to win any major award for at least a decade.


Alejandro G. Inarritu (-300) – The Revenant – Only seven times in the 65 year history of the Directors Guild of America Awards has their choice for Best Director not gone to the same person as the Oscars, which bodes very well for Inarritu, who just took home his third consecutive DGA Trophy for ‘The Revenant’ after having won for ‘Gravity’ in 2014 ‘Birdman’ in 2015.  The winner at the Director’s Guild awards has been especially accurate in recent years, with ten of the last eleven winners matching the Oscars, with the only year being off in 2013 when the DGA, Golden Globes and Critic’s Choice all gave the nod to Ben Affleck for his work on ‘Argo’.  Oddly enough Affleck wasn’t even nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards that year for ‘Argo’, and when the movie went on to win for Best Picture, Affleck became just the fifth director in Oscar history to not get nominated for directing the movie that went on to win the award for the top film.  While the next person on the list, George Miller, has gotten the largest crowd applause at each of the award shows when the nominees for Best Director have been announced, based upon past trends Inarritu seems be the best bet to take home this year’s Academy Award.

George Miller (+450) – Mad Max: Fury Road – Deciding to forego the modern action movie formula of over using CGI and absurd special effects proved to be a genius move for Miller, who earned his fifth and sixth Oscar nominations for making what turned out to be one of the best action films since ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and ‘Die Hard’ set the standard for greatness back in the 80s.  This is Miller’s first Academy Award nomination for directing after having been up for Best Screenplay in 1993 for ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’, Best Picture and Best Screenplay in 1996 for ‘Babe’ and then winning for Best Animated Feature in 2007 for ‘Happy Feet’.  Be sure not to confuse the Oscar nominee for the other director named George Miller, who is responsible for such jabber as the ‘The Neverending Story II’ and ‘Zeus and Roxanne’, a movie where Steve Guttenberg plays a motorcycle riding, guitar rocking tough guy that much to the delight of movie goers nowhere, turns out to have a heart of gold.

Adam McKay (+550) – The Big Short – McKay earned a Best Director nomination for his first ever dramatic movie and what was also the first film he ever directed that wasn’t starring Will Ferrell.  He is also up for and is a large favorite to win Best Adapted Screenplay for The ‘Big Short’, which was based upon a book by Michael Lewis, the author responsible for other amended stories that were also nominated for Best Picture like ‘Moneyball’ and ‘The Blind Side’.  While ‘The Big Short’ was a great movie and gets my vote out of this year’s nominees for Best Picture, one hopes that McKay doesn’t stray too away from the comedy genre after having been responsible for such recent instant classics as ‘Anchorman’, ‘Talladega Nights’, the underrated buddy cop movie ‘The Other Guys’ and my favorite movie ever, ‘Step Brothers’.

Thomas McCarthy (+1000) – Spotlight – McCarthy is up for two awards this year, not only for directing but also for his original screenplay work on ‘Spotlight’, which marks the second time he has been nominated for a writing Oscar after being up for the same award in 2009 for the Disney Pixar movie ‘Up’.  He graduated from Boston College in 1998, a mere three years before the nearby Boston Globe Spotlight team started their research into local abuse that led to story seen in the movie named after their investigative team.  Along with directing/writing, McCarthy has had plenty of work on the other side of the camera too, including roles in two movies nominated for best picture (‘Good Night, and Good Luck’ along with ‘Michael Clayton’), and also has experience with the newspaper industry after playing the role of reporter Scott Templeton in the fifth and final season of ‘The Wire’, the greatest show in the history of television.

Lenny Abrahamson (+3300) – The Room – Like Adam McKay and Tom McCarthy above him, Abrahamson is a director of Irish heritage who is nominated for his first Oscar in just the sixth movie he ever directed.  Although Abrahamson has the worst odds of any of the field, he deserves high accolades for ‘The Room’, not only for directing Brie Larson to a likely Best Actress win, but also for the job he did with 9 year old Jacob Trembly, who was acting in just his second credited movie role and ended up receiving a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the incredible performance the inexperienced newcomer pulled off in the movie.


Spotlight (+135) – The SAG and Critics’ Choice award winner for Best Picture is led by Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, two of whom are nominated for their performances in the movie. Keaton easily could have been up for an award and did such a good job impersonating the real life Walter Robinson character that he played in the movie that Robinson said, “My persona has been hijacked.  If Michael Keaton robbed a bank, the police would have me in handcuffs”.  Keaton and the other actors also helped make the film that much better by not falling into the typical Boston movie mistake trap of butchering the local accent, which has been an issue for many a picture that has taken place in the Massachusetts area, including those that went on to receive high critical acclaim like ‘The Departed’ and ‘Mystic River’.

The Big Short (+135) – Tied with ‘Spotlight’ as the favorite to take home Best Picture, ‘The Big Short’ just recently won the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture, which is a strong, positive sign for the Adam McKay directed and written film as the PGA Awards have given the top film prize to the same movie as the Oscar’s for the past eight years in a row.  ‘The Big Short’ has also won two awards for comedy, the Artios Award for best Big Budget Comedy and the Critics’ Choice award for Best Comedy film, which really doesn’t say much for the rest of the movies up for the award when a film focusing on the dismal topic of the housing market/big bank collapse could be considered the top choice for laughs.

The Revenant (+200) – With twelve nominations ‘The Revenant’ earned the most of any of the eight films up for Best Picture and is in the running for half of the 24 total trophy’s handed out on Oscar Night.  While being up for the most amount of awards sounds like it could be a good indicator of who has the best chance to win for the top film, only five of the last eleven Best Picture winners led their field in nominations. As for other trends regarding expected category wins, movies that have taken home the Best Actor prize (DiCaprio) have also won for Best Picture only twice in the last thirteen years, though winning Best Director (Inarritu) has certainly been a strong gauge for triumph, with 19 of the last 25 films that won for directing also victorious for top movie.

Mad Max: Fury Road (+5000) – Director George Miller pulled of an action movie masterpiece with his post-apocalyptic thrill ride starring Tom Hardy in the Max role originally made famous by Mel Gibson, and Charlize Theron, who despite not seeing her character’s name in the movie’s title is the true main character of the film .  According to the odds the movie is not expected to take home Best Picture, but with possible wins for Best Visual Effects, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Production Deisgn, Costume, Makeup and Film Editing, could easily lead the Oscar field in total wins once the night is over.

The Martian (+5000) – The Ridley Scott directed adventure film starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded in space has already won the Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and is also the highest grossing film of all the nominees with over 228 million dollars grossed domestically, over 70 million more than the next ones behind them (‘Mad Max’ and ‘The Revenant’ have both made just over 153 million).  Many think Ridley Scott rivals with Quentin Tarantino for the title of greatest filmmakers not to have won an Oscar for directing, and keeping with that tradition both were spurned again this year by not earning nominations for their films, with Tarantino missing out for ‘The Hateful Eight’ along with Scott’s lack of accoladic attention for ‘The Martian’.

Room (+6600) – While Brie Larson is widely expected to take home the award for Best Actress for her performance in ‘Room’, the winner of that trophy has only gone on to win for Best Picture twice in the past 23 years, including a current decade long streak, and one of those wins was controversial enough to eventually lead to a change in Oscar voting rules.  Many were shocked when ‘Shakespeare in Love’ won for Best Picture in 1998 over ‘Saving Private Ryan’, and one major reason for the win is the film’s producer Harvey Weinstein, who is well known (and disliked) for his shady and suspect politicking for his movies that ultimately caused the Academy Award to add in what are known as ‘The Weinstein Rules’ in 2009 that prohibit overzealous scheming when it comes to getting nominations and votes.  The final straw happened in 2008 when Weinstein’s movie ‘The Reader’ garnered a Best Picture nomination despite the lowest critic rating percentage (61%) of any movie up for the award in history.

Bridge of Spies (+10000) – The Cold War thriller earned six Oscar nominations and marks the fourth time that Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg have worked together as actor/director on a movie (‘Saving Private Ryan’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, The Terminal) and the sixth time overall, as Spielberg also produced 80’s Hanks movies ‘The Money Pit’ and “Joe Versus the Volcano’.  Oddly enough, Daniel Day Lewis for his performance in ‘Lincoln’ is the only actor or actress to ever win an award for acting in a Spielberg directed film.

Brooklyn (+20000) – The story of an Irish immigrant landing in New York in the 1950’s is the highest rated movie on Rotten Tomatoes (98% positive reviews) of the eight nominees up for Best Picture, but unfortunately much like the Best Actress trend mentioned for Brie Larson, that hasn’t translated too much success in recent history.  In the past 23 years only two films that had the highest overall ratings of critics on Rotten Tomatoes have gone on to win the award for Best Picture, ‘Argo’ in 2012 and ’12 Years a Slave’ in 2013. Bet your picks to win these awards using your credit card at Bovada Sportsbook! You get a 50% bonus on your first deposit as well!

For those involved in Oscar pools, below is a list of all the awards presented and predicted winner for each:

Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio

Best Actress – Brie Larson

Best Adapted Screenplay – The Big Short

Best Animated Feature Film – Inside Out

Best Animated Short Film – Sanjays Super Team

Best Cinematography – The Revenant

Best Costume Design – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Director – Alejandro G. Inarritu

Best Documentary Feature – Amy

Best Documentary Short – Body Team 12

Best Film Editing – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Foreign Language Film – Son of Saul

Best Live Action Short Film – Ave Maria

Best Makeup – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Original Score – The Hateful Eight

Best Original Screenplay – Spotlight

Best Original Song – Til It Happens To You

Best Picture – The Revenant

Best Production Design – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Editing - Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Sound Mixing - Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone

Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander

Best Visual Effects - Mad Max: Fury Road

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