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Saturday, February 17, 2007

I'd like to shank the Academy

Here are the bets I'm placing on the Oscars this year at I made a killing last year shorting Brokeback and I'm looking to repeat. (Note that these were the odds at the time I placed them and have changed by the time you read this, probably in my favor.)

Best Picture: The Departed (pays 2:1) is undervalued. It's a lock, despite Scorcese's recent win for The Aviator and my lonely belief that it sucked.

Director: Clint Eastwood (pays 12:1). Scorcese leads here, but Academy voters like to split their votes, and I think Clint has a chance especially considering the impressive successive release of two Oscar-level films in 12 months.

Actress: Helen Mirren is considered a sure thing, but I'm not so sure. How many Academy voters actually saw The Queen and know who she is? I wouldn't be surprised if Meryl Streep won by default, but I think Judy Dench and Kate Winslet have a chance, and now that Penelope Cruz has finally made a great movie, I'm shorting Mirren (pays 10:1 if any of them beat her).

Supporting Actor: Mark Wahlberg (30:1 odds). Sure, Eddie Murphy and Alan Arkin are more likely to win, but Marky Mark's wacky performance in The Departed is just the sort of thing Academy voters go for. 30:1 is a steal.

Supporting Actress: behind Jennifer Hudson (4:3 odds) is Rinko Kikuchi (12:1 odds). I think Hudson will win, but I'll take Kikuchi for the long shot.

Actor: Forest Whitaker is paying 5:4 odds, and I think that's actually a good buy, since none of the other nominees--with the possible exception of Leonardo DiCaprio--has a chance. But I think Leo is where voters' Departed fatigue will set in, and they'll skip this award for it.

By the way, Hillary is at 4:1 odds to win the presidency, and Al Gore is at 10:1 odds to win the nomination. Two overvalued possibilities; two shorting opportunities!


Blogger Scriblerus on Sun Feb 18, 06:14:00 PM:
From what I know of Academy voters--admittedly not much, but I do have firsthand knowledge of at least one who once let me fill in some of her ballot--they vote the buzz in the actor categories and tinker with Best Picture and Director. The odds on Helen Mirren make her an attractive short, but I'm fairly certain the voters know her very well and that it doesn't matter if they've seen The Queen. They haven't seen The Last King of Scotland either, but Forrest Whitaker has good chances. If anyone could beat him, I'd bet on Peter O'Toole rather than Leo.
Blogger Ben on Mon Feb 19, 01:14:00 PM:
Another point: Scorcese is so damn due. Eastwood swept with Million Dollar Baby two years ago. I predict Scorsese will win Picture and Director both (but I'll place long odds on Eastwood). And O'Toole doesn't have the cache to make it.

To be clear, my predictions are:
Deliver Us From Evil
Pan's Labyrinth
And for short fiction:
The Danish Poet (narrated by Liv Ullmann, and wonderful)
West Bank Story (Jews and Palestinians sing and dance and achieve forbidden love)
Blogger Alice on Wed Feb 21, 07:07:00 PM:
At least twice a week, I cite the sad, sad recent history of the Academy passing over four British actresses for an American (1993: Marisa Tomei beats Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, Vanessa Redgrave, and Judy Davis; 1998: Helen Hunt beats Julie Christie, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Helena Bonham Carter). I weep as I type those names, particularly the last one. But I don't think it will happen this year--and, of course, Penelope Cruz is Spanish and was excellent in Volver--and I expect to see Helen Mirren win.
Blogger Ben on Fri Feb 23, 12:32:00 AM:
I think you'll be vindicated, but I can't help but notice the pull of Judi Dench and Meryl Streep, who will attract many of the same voters as Mirren. Academy voters have Hollywood careers and don't go to the movies; and Mirren could fall victim to a Crash-Brokeback-Capote-Munich-Good Luck 5-way race for actress.