There will be plenty of big laughs, tears of joy and grandiose speeches but none of it matches the anticipation that surrounds Leonardo DiCaprio's bid for his very first Best Actor Oscar.
The Revenant +175
The Big Short +1000
The Martian +1000
Mad Max: Fury Road +2500
Bridge of Spies +4000
Spotlight gets the odds-on-favorite status due to its big win at the Golden Globes for Best Movie - Drama. But The Revenant is picking up all kinds of steam after its wide release and the swelling support for all things DiCaprio. Despite the surprising critical acclaim garnered by the big box office blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road it will be a nonstarter because explosions and things that go boom don't engender much love from the sophisticrats who vote on such weighty matters.
Academy Award Picks Best Picture: The Revenant +175
Best Line Offered: at Ladbrokes
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) -700
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) +700
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) +1000
Matt Damon (The Martian) +2800
Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) +3300
Perhaps Eddie Redmayne should repeat as an Oscar winner for yet another stunning metamorphosis from a good looking English bloke to last year's wheelchair bound astrophysicist Stephen Hawking and now this year seamlessly transforming into a gender bending performance in The Danish Girl. But this is the Year of DiCaprio and Hollywood appears bent on finally feting him with an Oscar as the crown jewel to all the other awards he has won.
But if you are as reluctant as I to lay all that juice on an Academy Award pick that is sheer intuition and gut instinct as opposed to facts and figures then let's look elsewhere and cast our lot with Matt Damon in The Martian at +2800. I don't believe Redmayne will be allowed to win twice in a row which is why we are going with what is essentially our third choice. Damon is well liked by Hollywood and his performance was universally hailed in The Martian in which he picked up the Golden Globe for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy.
Academy Award Picks Best Actor: Matt Damon +2800
Best Line Offered: at William Hill
Brie Larson (Room) -333
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) +550
Cate Blanchett (Carol) +900
Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) +900
Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) +2800
Brie Larson has virtually won a clean sweep in this category from little award shows only industry insiders are familiar with all the way to the Golden Globes. If there is anyone in this category that could steal the show (pun most definitely intended) from her it would be the immaculate Cate Blanchett for her role in Carol. The obstacle to Blanchett's winning a Golden Globe in this category, besides the glowing performance by Brie Larson, was Rooney Mara who shared the screen with her in Carol and was also nominated for a Globie. Rooney did not make the Oscar cut, so Blanchett has this all to herself. She won in 2014 for her performance in Blue Jasmine and we say she does it again this season.
Academy Awards Picks Best Actress: Cate Blanchett +900
Best Line Offered: at PaddyPower
Academy Awards Picks Best Director:
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant) -150
Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) +275
Adam McKay (The Big Short) +600
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) +800
Lenny Abrahamson (Room) +2500
Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the Golden Globe in this category and the Oscar last year for Birdman. With the "comin' like a freight train" momentum of The Revenant, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to back him even at -150 Oscar odds. But we will side with director Tom McCarthy in this category who made the most out of a wonderful cast and exceeded every expectation with this tale.
Academy Awards Picks Best Director: Tom McCarthy +275
Best Line Offered: at Bet365