The pencils are down, the ballots are in, and the wait is finally over. Early this morning, the nominees for the 90th annual Academy Awards were officially announced, and as predicted, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water continued on its hot streak, leading the pack with an impressive 13 nominations.
Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri followed with nine nominations – although McDonagh himself was left out of the Best Director pool – and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk was third with seven nods, including Nolan’s first as director.
The unpredictability of this award season continued with several other notable snubs and surprises besides McDonagh.
James Franco was not nominated for Best Actor, despite his Golden Globe win. Perhaps the sexual-misconduct claims against the Disaster Artist actor, which surfaced just one day after he won the Globe, played a part in the snub. But the LA Times report, wherein five women accused Franco of sexually inappropriate behavior, came out only five days before the Oscars’ voting period ended, so it may not have had enough time to do any damage.
Other notable snubs include: Tom Hanks (The Post), who has not been nominated for an Oscar since getting a nod for Cast Away in 2001; Michelle Williams (All the Money in the World); and Wonder Woman which, despite being one of the highest-grossing films of 2017, was left out of the nominations entirely.
There were a few pleasant surprises, as well, including a first Oscar nomination for Kobe Bryant, who received a nod for the animated short, Dear Basketball, which he wrote, starred in, and executive produced.
While this isn’t the first red carpet we’ll be walking down this season, the Academy Awards (the longest-running film award ceremony) remain the pinnacle of award season. Sportsbooks like BetOnline.ag are well aware of this, and some have actually had lines open for weeks on who will win each major category.
Now, with the nominations firm, let’s take a look at the lines available for each of the major categories. (For a full list of nominations, check out this piece by Variety.) Whether you are simply joining in an office Oscar pool, or are ready to jump in feet first and place a bet online, OG’s expert advice (below) has you covered.
Note that the Academy Awards, which usually take place on the last weekend in February, are scheduled for March 4th (5:00 PM PST) to accommodate for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
It is the most anticipated category of the most anticipated award show, and the race to Best Picture this year has been one for the ages. In a move away from last year’s #OscarsSoWhite conversation, this year, the list of nominees showcases a bit more diversity than is typical from the Academy. Get Out and Lady Bird, directed by freshmen Jordan Peele and Greta Gerwig, respectively, have earned their place among some of Hollywood’s heavy-hitters, shaking things up in a category that often feels predictable. They currently enjoy shorter odds than Hollywood royalty Steven Spielberg’s latest drama, The Post.
Expect this race to end in a photo finish. Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards, about a bereaved mother seeking justice for the murder of her child, has been enjoying tremendous critical acclaim and award-show success so far, and it is very likely this hot streak will continue. But, it’s chief competitor, The Shape of Water, has racked up the most nominations this year and has been steadily winning over the hearts of critics and fans alike.
Each film is worth your consideration, but if you’re wondering where the best bet lies, go with Three Billboards.
Unlike the Best Picture category, Best Actor has felt like a done deal for some time now. Gary Oldman has been sweeping the awards, and virtually everyone agrees that the Oscar is all but his. Break-out star Timothee Chalamet has been his close runner-up for some time, so it is slightly surprising to see BetOnline give Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya shorter odds. While Kaluuya’s performance emotionally-driven and complex performance was phenomenal, the 22-year-old Chalamet — the youngest actor to be nominated in a lead role since the 1930s — is Oldman’s real competition.
That being said, picking anyone but Oldman is absurd at this point. His odds (-1000) are that short for a reason. His transformative take on Winston Churchill has been deemed the role of his long, varied career, and to see him win his first Oscar for such a performance just feels right. You can expect the Academy to agree with every other voting body so far this season and hand Oldman the Best Actor award.
This category features another heavy favorite, with Frances McDormand leading the pack. Her performance as Mildred Hayes, a grieving mother who takes justice into her own hands, was fierce. The words “force of nature” come to mind. Pared down, and filter removed, McDormand delivers a monologue midway through the movie that, alone, should earn her the Oscar. If that wasn’t enough to convince you, sure the rest of the movie was.
McDormand has already taken home the Golden Globe and SAG Award, and while the various shows often disagree, this may well be a year for uniformity. However, the current gap between McDormand and the field at online betting sites is a bit too large. BetOnline has her odds at -750, with the next shortest at +700 (Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water) — quite a chasm. First of all, Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) should be next on the list for her pitch-perfect performance, and her odds should be closer to +500: still a longshot to take the award, but not unthinkable.
Prior to the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Willem Dafoe looked like a good bet to take home the award for Best Supporting Actor. But Sam Rockwell has surprised us this season, finding his way to the front of the pack with an incredibly complex performance as a racist cop in Three Billboards. Rockwell was able to do something with his character that is exceedingly difficult, and has, in fact, contributed to some of the criticism for the film: he convinced audiences that a racist man may yet have redeeming qualities.
Pleasant surprises in this category were Woody Harrelson, who starred alongside of Rockwell in Three Billboards, and Christopher Plummer, who stepped in post-Kevin Spacey scandal to re-shoot All the Money in the World. But the frontrunners are truly the frontrunners here. BetOnline has the odds for Rockwell to win at -200, placing him comfortably ahead of Defoe at +180. Dafoe is definitely a strong second, but you don’t want second when putting money down, do you? Again, go with the betting favorite.
Unlike the other threea acting category, the outcome for Best Supporting Actress feels uncertain. Allison Janney and Laurie Metcalf are, by far, the two to watch, as they have been all awards season. Janney scooped up the Globe and SAG Awards and is a worthy favorite to win the Oscar. But Metcalf’s performance deserves to escape Janney’s shadow.
Metcalf’s turn as Lady Bird’s distant mother was so nuanced that it didn’t feel like acting. She simply was the mother who loved her daughter, but had no idea how to show it. She was the overworked wife who didn’t begrudge her husband, but hoped for better days. She was at ease in her method, kind in her portrayal, and emotive in all the right places. Janney is more likely to take home the award on March 4th, but Metcalf deserves a piece of it, and picking her for the win could payoff monetarily.
One of the biggest surprises this morning was the absence of Martin McDonagh from the Best Director category. With Three Billboards receiving nods in so many other categories, it felt like a shoo-in for him to receive one, as well. But if his absence made way for Greta Gerwig (only the fifth female to ever be nominated in this category) or Jordan Peele (only the fifth black director to be nominated) then perhaps it is not in vain.
When Dunkirk was first released back in the summer of 2017, it felt inevitable that this would be Nolan’s first Oscar win. Then came Lady Bird and The Shape of Water, and nothing felt certain anymore. Guillermo del Toro has won Best Director at two other shows so far and is favored to do so again.
The question really comes down to this: Will the Academy waver from the pack, and if so, how far? Will they move toward diversity, siding with a woman or a man of colour? Will they honor the “always a bridesmaid, never the bride” candidate in Nolan? Or will they agree with the crowd, and crown del Toro as victor?
BetOnline has del Toro as their favorite, and he is the smart, safe bet. Could there be an upset? Yes. The chance of an Academy shake-up here should not be undersold. Guillermo del Toro has been celebrated, but the quality of direction coming from the other nominees leaves the door open for a Moonlight-type underdog story.
All odds courtesy of BetOnline.ag.
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