Vanyaland predicts the Oscars: Vegas favorites, dark horse picks, and perfect-world selections

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The Oscars ceremony is the rare annual event that brings together film nerds, fashionistas, and degenerate gamblers. Much like the Super Bowl and presidential elections, it’s super helpful to look at betting markets when trying to figure out who will win a given competition. While FiveThirtyEight may be looking at other ceremonies to guess at a winner, we’re looking at the bookies. We’re using the lines from Sportsbook.ag, which we’re completely unaffiliated with, and adding our own analysis (and wishful thinking) to the mix. Here are the lines that may decide your Oscar pool this year in advance of Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

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Best Picture

La La Land
Hacksaw Ridge
Hidden Figures
Hell or High Water
Manchester by the Sea


Vegas Favorite: La La Land (1/15), which is expected. This movie’s won practically every other award out there, including the Golden Globe for Best Musical/Comedy and the BAFTA for Best Film, and received a whopping 14 nominations from the Academy. You should totally not bet on this, because you’re most likely going to be disappointed. There’s a chance second place favorite Moonlight (8/1) coasts to victory on the political moods of the moment and because it’s an amazing fucking film, but we (and Vegas) severely fucking doubt it.

Dark Horse: We’d consider Hidden Figures (20/1) to be a solid wager. It’s a financial and critical success, which counts more than one might think when it comes to the modern Oscars, and has a great deal of crossover appeal. It has the same image-enhancing qualities of a Moonlight win, given how badly #Oscarssowhite damaged the brand last year, but is a great deal less controversial choice (remember, when given the choice between Crash and Brokeback Mountain, the Academy went with the much safer former).

In a Perfect World: Moonlight, or our personal favorite out of the nominees, Arrival.


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