The great and good of the movie world will be out in force for the 87th Academy Awards. William Hill's Specials Podcast host Lee Phelps looks at the best odds and the betting in the major categories for his free picks.
The pinnacle of the movie award season is almost upon us with the 2015 Oscars, so prepare for tears of joy from everyone from make-up artists to songwriters and Hollywood superstars to Executive Producers.
The Academy Awards are also a big betting event of course and my job is to find value picks in the Academy Awards odds that are usually dominated by very short priced favorites. I’ll list the categories I’m looking at with my pick and why.
Let’s get those shorties out of the way first with a word of advice: if you see a heavy favorite, accept it is what it is and move on, it will win.
The big favorites
Three of the six major categories are dominated by three names. The Best Actress category sees Julianne Moore at 1.03 (1/33), the Best Supporting Actress front runner is Patricia Arquette at 1.02 (1/40) and JK Simmons has the Best Supporting Actor gone sewn up at 1.03 (1/33).
Boyhood opened up at 26.0 (25/1) at William Hill in the Oscars betting last June, when odds were on for the first time in November 2014, went as short as 1.05 (1/20) in January and is now in the betting at 2.62 (13/8).
“Richard Linklater filmed ‘Boyhood’ over the course of 12 years, shaping a fictional narrative around the real-life coming-of-age of his star, the non-professional Coltrane. The resulting film immerses the audience in a story that’s simultaneously intimate and epic, every-day and profound, as Coltrane’s character grows from child to young man in the miraculously seamless span of just over two hours. As emotionally stirring as it is ambitious, “Boyhood” epitomizes the kind of film that Academy members like to reward, if only to remind themselves of what the medium can still achieve.” The Washington Post.
It was favorite for a reason and although Birdman has overtaken it in the betting, I’m trusting the money that took it to overwhelming favoritism a month ago.
Oscars Pick: Boyhood
I’m staying on the Boyhood bandwagon here and going for Richard Linklater to win this award. It took him 12 years to make this film, that does not happen every year and the Academy will surely respect his ability to stay with the project and direct it so it wasn’t bum (butt) numbingly long for cinema audiences. It hits all the right notes.
Oscars Pick: Richard Linklater 2.5 (6/4)
Eddie Redmayne’s success at The Baftas and Golden Globes has thrust him into favoritism in this category at the Oscars for his portrayal of Stephen Hawkings in The Theory of Everything. I’m loathe to take him on given his success already, but I am looking at Michael Keaton’s current price of 4.33 with some temptation.
Keaton is Hollywood royalty and may be on the verge of a Matthew McConaughey style resurrection. In Birdman, Keaton plays Riggan Thomson - a washed-up Hollywood actor famous for playing the superhero Birdman in blockbuster movies decades earlier. It’s not one of my strongest tips, but he has been a heavy favorite in this category, so I wouldn’t put anyone off.
Oscars Pick: Michael Keaton 4.33 (10/3)
Best Sound Mixing
This isn’t one of the most obvious categories, but it’s my favorite tip. I’m predicting Whiplash will win the award and at 3.75 (11/4) it is the value shout. The film tells the tale of a drumming student and his terrifying teacher.
It won the Bafta and winners in the British awards have a great track record here, picking two thirds of champions over the past 15 years.
Oscars Pick: Whiplash 3.75 (11/4)
Best Film Editing
Over the last 40 years only three winners of Best Picture haven’t been nominated for Best Film Editing and there’s no sign of Birdman here, so to go with my tip of Boyhood to win the major award, I’m picking it to take this one too.
It’s a shorter price at 1.5 (1/2) but I think that is the best odds on shot in the 2015 Academy Award betting.
Oscars Pick: Boyhood 1.5 (1.2)