Although Oscar ballots aren’t due in until Tuesday, Ladbrokes — the London gambling house — has decided to close its Academy Award book almost a week early. The reason: Screen Actors Guild Award victories by Roberto Benigni and Gwyneth Paltrow, combined with a skewing of the odds. “It’s our view that a consensus has formed that Paltrow is the front-runner,” odds-compiler Sean Boyce told Variety. The odds on Paltrow are now 4-6 (meaning that a bettor would win a profit of $4 for every $6 wager). Trailing in the odds are Cate Blanchett at 11-10; Meryl Streep and Emily Watson, both at 14-1; and Fernanda Montenegro at 33-1. Benigni, however, is not the front-runner. Nick Nolte is Ladbrokes’ favorite at 4-5: Tom Hanks and Ian McKellen are tied for second at 5-2, followed by Benigni at 8-1 and Edward Norton at 16-1.

  • For Best Picture, “Saving Private Ryan” is the favorite to win at 2-5, trailed by “Shakespeare in Love” at 5-2, “Life is Beautiful” at 4-1, “The Thin Red Line” at 12-1 and “Elizabeth” at 33-1.
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