Oscars Betting: DiCaprio’s Butterfingers and Why ‘Roma’ is the Favorite and not ‘The Favourite’

Posted on: February 24, 2019, 08:19h. 

Last updated on: February 24, 2019, 01:15h.

As Hollywood’s scandalous bright young things agonize over whether to Ralph & Russo or Prada their way into the 91st Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater later today, Casino.org has been in a similar state of torment over the bookmaker’s odds.

Oscars betting
Bookmakers aren’t offering odds on who will be the worst dressed celebrity at the 2019 Oscars, but if they were, on current form these guys would be the favorites. Clockwise from left: St. Vincent, Andra Day, Lindsey Vonn, Taraji P. Henson, Whoopi Goldberg.

Our conclusion: unlike red-carpet fashion statements, when it comes to Oscars betting, the quirkier is always the better.

While Americans will have to content themselves with office sweepstakes — unless they live in New Jersey — Europeans are presented with a tempting smorgasbord of prop betting options.

For example, among the usual array of Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Makeup and Hairstyling-style Oscar bets, bwin is also offering wagers on random but important stuff, like “Will a person born in Sweden win an Oscar?” — just one of almost 100 Oscar bets up for grabs.

“Yes” is a 23/10 proposition. But do the Swedes have a shot?

Well, since we’re here, here’s how we see it. There are two Swedish nominees: Ludwig Göransson, who wrote the score for Black Panther — up for Best Original Score and Best Original Song — and Border, a fantasy movie about a sexual liaison between two trolls, which is up for Best Makeup.

Neither are favorites within their respective categories (more of which later), so — unless we’re missing something big, like Rami Malek is secretly Swedish — we’ll pass on this one. Sorry, Sweden.

Oscar Dropping Unprecedented  

Of course, you can also bet on which winner will deliver the longest speech, although bear in mind that, since 2010, the time limit for speeches has been set to 45 seconds. Let’s face it, though, rules are there for the breaking.

If you want to bet that the wrong winner will be announced inadvertently, as was the case in 2017, you have that too, at 9/1.

Bwin is also offering odds on whether either the Best Actor or Best Actress will drop their Oscar on stage. But do we detect a whiff of chauvinism in work of the odds setter here?

The Best Actor is marginally less likely to drop his Oscar (9/1) than the Best Actress (8/1) presumably because – what? – women are more emotional?

Studying the form on this one is easy. In the 90-year history of the awards, no one has ever dropped an Oscar on stage — neither man nor woman — although it was reported that Leonardo DiCaprio butterfingered his 2016 Oscar for The Revenant on his way out of the Dolby Theater as he was waving to fans, causing it to shatter into three parts.

Having waited a long time for that award, DiCaprio was described by onlookers as “crestfallen.”

World’s Safest Betting Market?

Novelty betting aside, perhaps the biggest question from this year’s Oscars — other than who is actually hosting it — is whether Roma will be the first movie in a foreign language to win Best Picture, and if it does, will it also take Best Foreign Language film?

Bookmakers have the Golden Lion-winning movie by director Alfonso Cuarón (not Swedish, we checked it out) as a firm favorite for Best Picture across the board. That means it’s very likely to make Oscars history.

Because Oscar winners are decided by over 6,000 voting members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science — and the bookies’ favorite is decided by a large sample size of the betting public — they usually arrive at the same conclusion.

It doesn’t matter that the bookies’ own cross section of the public is not composed of “experts” — with the right sample size, the broad consensus will usually overcome the smaller pockets of left-field tastes and contrarian opinion to deliver the same answer.

Since 2004, the bookmakers’ favorite has won Best Actor every year apart from 2009, which means betting on the favorite at the Oscars may be the surest bet out there.

We should clarify: when we say “bet on the favorite,” we don’t mean “bet on The Favourite.” The British period comedy The Favourite is not the favorite — it’s third favorite at 20/1. So don’t bet on it. Clear?