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Your Gambling & Betting Guide To The 2023 Oscars (Top Gun Upset?)

CUE THE MUSIC!

The Oscars are back, and they start right after the end of Selection Sunday, essentially.

MAJOR DISCLAIMER: I am not calling any of these locks, which I assume most people know. Predicting award shows can be difficult, betting on them is even harder. Think “low risk, high reward” when it comes to the Oscars. The odds are crazy high in some categories, so a light sprinkle is usually all you need. As always, bet with caution and HAVE A GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER. You must be 21+ years old, and in Arizona, Indiana, or New Jersey. These odds are also from around 2:00e on Oscars Sunday.

Before I get into some general thoughts, I always like explaining how BEST PICTURE works:

My favorite description of the Best Picture category is when people say it is basically "Least Disliked Picture." If you're really interested in the process even further, this is another great run-through of how it all works… 

My friend Walt Hickey of Numlock Awards (a site GREAT at predicting the Oscars) went into the process a little more back in 2020, when we labeled PARASITE as a great bet…

When I talk to folks about how the Oscar voting shakes out, the question tends to be something like, “I know 1917 won a lot, but I really like Parasite and I think that a lot of the Academy probably also does, and I wonder if the weird voting thing that they do means that the movie I like has a shot?”

Ranked choice is a process where people rank the Oscar movies on their ballot. The votes are all counted up, and if one movie has more than 50 percent of votes, that movie wins. If a movie doesn’t have 50 percent of votes, all the ballots that voted for the movie with the lowest votes get moved to their second choice. Then the process repeats until some movie breaks 50 percent.

The objective is to find the film most amenable to the largest number of people. As a result, it’s nice but not all that critical to get a massive pile of #1 rankings. Realistically, a nine-nominee field is not getting settled on the first ballot. What competitive movies need is to simply be ranked better than their top rivals. Last year, the fact is that a majority of the Academy ranked Green Book above Roma. It’s that simple.

The above breakdown leads me to say this: EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is going to win Best Picture.

Could something else win? Sure, I listed my potential upsets at the top. Let's dive into those thoughts more, as well as other nuggets to have on hand…

  • EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is essentially a lock for Best Picture at this point, and Numlock said if it were to lose, you could call it the biggest upset in daces. Though, if that happens, I do think something fucking insane such as TOP GUN: MAVERICK (+2500) could pull it off. The movie has been labeled as incredibly important, and a darling for saving cinemas, but would that be enough for a big win? If you want to sprinkle an upset, THE FABELMANS (+4000) from Spielberg had steam for a while, and THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (+2000) is the only other movie really that close to the A24 alternate universe thriller.
  • Don't touch the Best Supporting Actor category, as KEY HUY QUAN (EEAAO) is going to win.
  • Best Supporting Actress, meanwhile, is a wide-open race and I think the plus money options here are all great. Three women make the most sense here, with JAMIE LEE CURTIS (EEAAO) (+120) as the "favorite" due to all predictive models, but could a split with her co-star STEPHANIE HSU (EEAAO) potentially hurt her? If so, two people fall in line: ANGELA BASSETT (BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER) (+150), and KERRY CONDON (THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN) (+225). I am not sure where Banshees is going to win tonight, but I think Condon at that price is a steal. A win for Bassett would be huge, especially for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disney, but I just have a hunch one of the two of them will beat out Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • The lead acting categories are interesting this year, because both have clear favorites with MICHELLE YEOH (EEAAO) (-265) and Good Boy BRENDAN FRASER (THE WHALE) (-250), but I sort of love the underdogs in both! The Academy, and Hollywood, apparently love Elvis, and we know how they feel about people playing famous musicians. Whether you liked Elvis, or not, there was no denying the greatness of AUSTIN BUTLER (ELVIS) (+165), and I think he may shock everyone here over Fraser. The models, including Numlock, favor Austin Butler, but it is worth noting Brendan Fraser essentially wasn't involved with the Golden Globes due to this past history with them (fuck the Hollywood Foreign Press), so take that into account with the models. As for the other side, CATE BLANCHETT (TAR) (+160) won the BAFTA for this category, which is a great historical indicator for the award and is favored heavily by the Numlock model.
  • Much like the other awards in which Everything Everywhere All At Once is the favorite, Best Director seems to be a lock for The Daniels, but how can you not look at STEVEN SPIELBERG (THE FABELMANS) (+700) and think"well, he is a Hollywood icon?" In the end, you need to take some fliers if you want to bet on the Oscars, and this one qualifies as such.
  • The screenplay categories are intriguing this year, with WOMEN TALKING as the favorite for Adapted Screenplay, but not one I would personally pick. I just smell some sort of upset potential here, with ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (+150) as the best possible candidate. The movie is going to win Best International Feature, and while the hype has died a bit, I can see it grabbing another award. But my favorite CRAZY longshot pick of the night is TOP GUN: MAVERICK (+2800). Again, Top Gun: Maverick was the darling of movies in 2022, even more so than Avatar: The Way of Water. This would be wild, but at that price, it's worth taking a shot on a movie everyone loved. As for Original Screenplay, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (-182) remains the favorite at a good price, but the screenplay awards are sometimes viewed as consolation prices. If that happens this year, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (+130) is the logical choice for a small upset.
  • Lastly, I don't know how EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE is not -3000 for Best Film Editing, which means it sitting there at -305 is intriguing to me.

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As always, thank you for reading this breakdown, and thanks to Walt Hickey for his awesome website that helps prime you for what to expect at the Oscars. (Numlock Awards)

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