It’s that time again, everyone: the 91st Academy Awards are upon us, and they’ll take place on Sunday (February 24) at 8 p.m., airing, once again, on ABC. This has been a particularly bad year for the awards show, what with the Academy attempting to shear time off the broadcast or the total and utter failure on the behalf of the Academy to find a host for the show, so it’s becoming clearer and clear that the purpose of the Oscars is less about honoring artistry and way more about ratings and, you guessed it, money. So let’s treat this awards ceremony with the respect it deserves — which is to say not very much if those who put it on this little for it — and do a deep dive into the gambling prospects for this year’s Oscars.
We’ve taken our odds from bwin, a U.K.-based online sportsbook, and they’re just meant, mainly, to read the field, though we have included some advice if you’d like to place some bets. Don’t try and do this at your local casino, as most casinos throughout the country are prohibited from gambling on non-sports events, especially those in Nevada (we’re willing to wager that this will change as gambling laws become more liberal nationwide). We’ve got most of the major categories here (though a few we’ve left off simply because they’re not as interesting gambling-wise), and we were a bit surprised by the odds here. It’s not too far removed from joining your office Oscar pool, and you can win categories without having to worry about Dave, who somehow has seen all of the shorts, from totally wrecking the curve.
A quick explanation of the numbers: They’re presented in what’s called “American Odds,” where the favorite is represented by a negative number and the underdogs are represented by positive (without any impact by a point spread), which is a bit weird if you haven’t bet on anything before. It’s very easy to understand, though: a negative number represents how much money you would have to bet in order to win $100, and a positive represents how much you would win on a $100 bet. So when bwin says that Spider-Verse is -2000 to win the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar, that means you’d have to bet two grand in order to win a cool Benjamin. If Isle of Dogs were to upset in that category and you bet $100 on it, you’d win $1200. The reason they feel comfortable offering those odds is that it’s probably not going to, so always keep that in mind.
Hell, even if you don’t bet, sportsbooks are a solid predictor of what’s going to go down on Sunday night, given that those books really don’t like to lose money. And with that, we’ll head to the categories after a word from the patron saint of Oscar gambling, Oscar Gamble:
Swipe or use your ← → (arrow) keys
Best Animated Feature Film
The Favorite: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (-2000) The Contenders: Isle of Dogs (+1200), Incredibles 2 (+1400) The Long Shots: Mirai (+5000), Ralph Breaks the Internet (+5000)
Advice: We’d recommend you’d stay away from this category all together. Spider-Verse seems to have peaked at the right time, given that it had a Christmas release date (meaning it stayed fresher in the minds of voters than, say, Isle of Dogs or so), and claimed the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film last month. That’s not to say that it wouldn’t be wise to bet on Incredibles 2, however, if there’s one thing the Oscars respect above all else, it’s making that money (see: Malek, Rami), and given that film’s billion-plus at the worldwide box office, it’s definitely going to sway some fence-sitting voters at the last minute. But, like the oddsmakers, we don’t think that victory is very likely.
Swipe or use your ← → (arrow) keys
We're having fun with this column, and betting is fun in moderation, but gambling addiction is no fun whatsoever. If you or a loved one is suffering from this affliction, the National Problem Gambling Helpline is taking calls and texts 24/7 at 1-800-522-4700, and at their website. If you have a problem, or think you might, please don't be afraid to seek out help from qualified professionals.