Alibi V.25 No.8 • Feb 25-March 2, 2016 

Idiot Box

Oscar Odds

“The Oscars” on ABC

The 88th Annual Academy Awards, known officially these days as “The Oscars,” is coming our way this Sunday, Feb. 28. Comedian Chris Rock will host the event for the second time. (He did it all the way back in 2005.) Perhaps this is some sort of mea culpa on the part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members didn’t nominate any African Americans in major categories this year—but at least they’re willing to let Chris Rock make fun of them for it. #HollywoodSoWhite.

Aside from whatever cutting remarks Rock has planned, the night isn’t expected to be a particularly surprise-filled affair. The Academy Awards are, after all, a popularity contest conducted among a very small, very elite group of Tinseltown royalty. Dark horses can occasionally win the Kentucky Derby where luck, health, weather conditions and all manner of contributing factors come into play. But it’s almost impossible for them to win in a popularity contest where favorites are ... well, favored.

So, who is likely to take home Oscar gold this year? As always we turn to the oddsmakers for a little perspective on this year’s Oscar contest. Online betting is illegal in most of the United States and pari-mutuel betting on non-sporting events in virtually unheard of. But overseas companies—particularly those in the United Kingdom—are more than happy to take up the slack. This year we turn to Ladbrokes, a prestigious British betting and gambling company based in London and founded in 1886, as our oddsmakers.

In most contests it isn’t even looking close. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant has already snapped up Golden Globe, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild, Director’s Guild and countless film critics’ society awards. Right now, if you bet $100 on Leonardo DiCaprio to win the “Best Actor” Oscar, Ladbrokes would pay you one whole dollar for guessing correctly. That is what we call a lock, ladies and gentlemen.

Best Picture: The Revenant 1/2, Spotlight 5/2, The Big Short 7/1, The Martian 80/1, Mad Max: Fury Road 100/1, Room 100/1, Brooklyn 100/1, Bridge of Spies 200/1

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu (The Revenant) 1/10, George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) 7/1, Adam McKay (The Big Short) 20/1, Thomas McCarthy (Spotlight) 25/1, Lenny Abrahamson (Room) 66/1

Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) 1/100, Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) 20/1, Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) 33/1, Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) 66/1, Matt Damon (The Martian) 66/1

Best Actress: Brie Larson (Room) 1/20, Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) 12/1, Cate Blanchett (Carol) 33/1, Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) 33/1, Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) 50/1

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short 1/20, Room 7/1, Brooklyn 25/1, Carol 33/1, The Martian 50/1

Best Original Screenplay: Spotlight 1/8, Inside Out 5/1, Bridge of Spies 16/1, Ex Machina 33/1, Straight Outta Compton 50/1

“The 88th Annual Academy Awards” airs Sunday, Feb. 28 at 6:30pm on KOAT-7