Bale as Cheney circa 1999 in Adam McKay’s ‘Vice’ | Annapurna Pictures
Heading into the third week of December, we’re getting a picture of how award season will shake out. On the Best Picture front, Roma and A Star Is Born look like heavy favorites, with Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut in the lead. Both got Golden Globe nods and caught the attention of Las Vegas oddsmakers.
As for Best Director, the early race looked neck-and-neck between Cooper and Alfonso Cuaron, who won a statue for Gravity in 2014. Behind them, you’ll find Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman and Adam McKay for Vice. We could see the Academy recognizing any of the above directors.
Looking at the Best Actor and Best Actress races, the field is much tighter. While Vegas oddsmakers couldn’t agree on any prohibitive favorites — and nominations remain several weeks away — there is a clear top three in both categories.
Best Actor: Cooper and Christian Bale pacing the pack
Aside from directing A Star Is Born, Cooper got screenplay and producer credit on the film. Meanwhile, he’s garnered nominations for Best Actor from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics’ Choice. Vegas has him winning with the lowest odds (-175) in mid-December.
(For betting novices, the lowest odds equals the lowest payouts. The higher the odds, the more of a long-shot the outcome will be, thus the higher payout.)
Behind Cooper, you find Christian Bale (+300) for his performance in Vice. While Bale once again underwent a transformation to play the former vice president, Vegas isn’t convinced. Casino sports books will pay out three dollars for every dollar you bet on the British actor, who already has one Oscar to his name.
Just behind Bale, you find Rami Malek at +400 for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. In fourth place, Viggo Mortensen (+700) remains a contender for his turn in Green Book.
Best Actress: Gaga and Glenn Close leading
Lady Gaga in ‘A Star Is Born’ | Warner Bros – MGM
In the Best Actress category, you’ll find much more concentration, as far as Vegas is concerned. Lady Gaga led the pack as of mid-December, offering bettors +125 (or $125 for every $100 you bet). You have to believe Gaga’s turn in A Star is Born gets the maximum consideration because of her excellent singing in the film. (Over $200 million in domestic box office couldn’t hurt, either.)
Yet this race appeared far from settled heading into the new year. Glenn Close, the veteran actress with six Oscar nominations to her name, sat right behind Gaga with odds of +225. Close’s likely fourth nomination for a lead role (this time, for The Wife) seems to give her an edge. Like a batter on an 0-for-7 streak in baseball, you could say that Close is due this time around.
Vegas has Olivia Colman right behind Close (+325) for her turn in The Favourite. For Colman, it was the British actress’s first Academy Award nomination, so you can factor that into her candidacy as you see fit.
Again, none of the above actors have technically received Oscar nominations yet. That date arrives Tuesday, January 22. But the earlier you place your bet, the better odds you’ll get.
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