If you are interested in betting the Oscars and getting the most bang for your buck, you won’t find the answers in the marquee categories.
When it comes to categories like Best Actor or Best Actress, there are just too many awards — the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, etc. — leading up to the Academy Awards on Feb. 24 for there to be too many inefficiencies in the market.
However, for some of the smaller categories, there are only a few indicators to look to, which means some NJ sportsbooks are making educated guesses. Since this is the first year anyone in the United States is offering Oscar wagers, they still have some things to figure out.
Get your bets in before the BAFTAs
If you don’t follow what movie fans call “awards season,” you may not realize we are at the tail end, with just two major awards events left before Oscars night.
The first of those is the British Academy of Film And Television Arts (BAFTA) awards. The BAFTAS are essentially the British Oscars. As such, they will award several of the same smaller categories as the Academy Awards. Those winners will give books more information about how to price some of these smaller categories, so you want to bet early while there are still some good bets on the board.
Here are my three favorite bets to take advantage of before the BAFTAs on Feb. 10. And here are the sportsbooks offering these categories:
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill
- Hard Rock
Bohemian Rhapsody – Best Editing (+430)
Most sportsbooks have a line around this price for a movie most film fans will tell you is the favorite to win the award.
There are some telltale things working in Bohemian Rhapsody editor John Ottman’s favor. First, he won the Eddie Award this year for Best Drama, which is the top editing award.
Secondly, he is a journeyman editor who has worked on movies for a couple of decades, dating back to 1995’s The Usual Suspects. Unrecognized, but long-working talent always fares a little better than others.
Finally, and most importantly, Ottman notably stitched this movie together without a director. Bryan Singer, the film’s director, was fired from the production before shooting wrapped. So instead of working hand-in-hand with the director, Ottman edited work from two different filmmakers essentially by himself. The end result has netted $750 million in box office and major respect from his peers. It also gives voters a chance to honor the film without honoring the controversial Singer. This is Ottman’s award to lose.
Black Panther – Best Costume Design (+340)
It is understandable sportsbooks think the period film The Favourite is the film to beat here. Costume Design is typically a category that can’t get enough of period films. Plus, three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell gets creative with the black and white costumes of the Yorgos Lanthimos film.
However, in a year where Hollywood wants every opportunity to love Black Panther, this is one where they can do so and feel justified.
Put it this way: it is arguably much more difficult to invent credible and eye-catching traditional and modern garb for a made-up African country than to riff on an era where we know exactly what people wore. Plus, costume designer Ruth E. Carter is a well-respected artist with no Oscar to her name. What she does have is a lifetime achievement award from the Costume Designers Guild awarded to her this year.
The marketing push on Carter to the Academy is in full force too. IMG hosted a fashion event to honor her achievements just yesterday as part of New York Fashion Week. Her publicity is going big. And she is not coming home empty-handed. Wakanda forever.
The Favourite – Best Original Screenplay (-110)
There is one more awards ceremony between the BAFTAs and Oscars to look out for. It is the Writers Guild of America Awards (WGA). Before the scribes hand out hardware on Feb. 17, get your bets in on The Favourite (and the favorite) before the line moves. Moreover, since it is a British film, you’re best off betting before the BAFTAs as well.
As for the Oscars, The Favourite and Roma garnered the most nominations of the field with 10 each. The Academy is going to want to give the former something substantial. Best Picture and Best Director are longshots. Ditto the three acting nominations. That leaves editing and screenplay. You just read why it won’t win Best Editing, so this is the inevitable conclusion.
It helps that the competition is weak. The enthusiasm for Vice rapidly died once people actually watched the movie. Green Book is tainted by political backlash. Given that one of the writers is the son of the character played by Viggo Mortensen, the Academy will likely steer clear. Roma, once again, may seem tempting as the Best Picture favorite. However, writer-director Alfonso Cuarón has not won too many accolades for the script of what is an overwhelmingly visual movie.
The lone nominee to watch out for is Paul Schrader for First Reformed. Schrader is practically a living legend who also wrote Taxi Driver. This is his first Oscar nomination. There may be a sentimental upset by him, but the process of elimination tells us The Favourite lives up to its name.