For those who are looking to make the Academy Awards a little more interesting by putting some money on the line, Vegas insider and former Caesars Palace oddsmaker Todd Fuhrman and PEOPLE’s Digital Movies Editor Nigel M. Smith tackled the topic for Sports Illustrated — breaking down the key things that will improve betters’ chances going into Hollywood’s biggest night.
While America debates who is most deserving to take home a statue in the lead up to tonight’s show, hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, there are some heavy favorites in a few categories. For Best Director, Fuhrman says it’s a safe bet that Guillermo Del Toro (-1200) will take home an award for his critically acclaimed The Shape of Water over contenders like Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk (+600) and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird (+1200), who is the fifth woman ever to be nominated for the category.
“He is the overwhelming favorite for good reason,” Fuhrman says, “I’ll put Del Toro up there probably on that No. 1 seed line for a lot of folks.”
Of course, the political side of things leans to Del Toro’s favor as well, Smith adds.
“Word that I’m hearing is that [Christopher Nolan] is a bit of a cold presence on the award circuit, ” Smith says. “Whereas Guillermo Del Toro — everybody loves this guy’s and he’s really been working it, so I think it’s his to win. ”
For Best Supporting Actress, the duo says that even though I, Tonya’s Allison Janney (-550) is a favorite (but not an overwhelming one) over Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird (+425), betters can’t count out Lesley Manville’s performance (+2000) in Phantom Thread. The category is known for being unpredictable, and while Janney is likely to take home some hardware tonight, considering the competition, it is far from set in stone.
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In the Best Supporting Actor category, Sam Rockwell (-600) is the favorite for his showing in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, with Willem Dafoe (+450) coming in second for The Florida Project.
With Best Actress, Frances McDormand (-1400) is likely to win considering the awards she has already taken home this season for her work in Three Billboards. Her character’s strong persona and the values she represents fits well with the #MeToo movement, Fuhrman says, and will likely land her the Oscar over Saoirse Ronan (+800) for her performance in Lady Bird.
For Best Actor, Gary Oldman is the heavy favorite (-2000) to win for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, with Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya (+1400) coming in second. Despite Oldman’s previous domestic abuse allegations, the controversy doesn’t seem to be affecting his chances heading into the ceremony.
“I think it’s Gary Oldman’s to lose, he’s won every precursor award, he’s been working the circuit,” Smith adds. “The controversy surrounding his personal life just hasn’t really boiled up, there’s been no major salacious piece that’s brought him down and the votes are already in.”
Where betters are going to find a tougher time choosing a winner will be in the Best Picture category.
Three Billboards is a slightly favored (+100) over other favorites like The Shape of Water (+135), Lady Bird (+800), Get Out (+900) and Dunkirk (+1400). Both Nigel and Fuhrman say Get Out could take the award as a 9-to-1 longshot, especially if the Academy wants to make a statement.
The 2018 Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on Sunday and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
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