February 21, 2012

OSCAR ODDS for Major Categories — UPDATED

>Updated Oscar odds confirm a complete snooze is in store for Sunday’s Academy Awards as The Artist and director Michel Hazanavicius are heavy favorites to win Best Picture and Best Director, bringing a very French flavor — and depressed ratings — to ABC’s telecast.  Oscar ratings rise and fall based on the suspense of the major races and especially when a movie is in contention that a mass audience has actually paid to see.  There is virtually no race in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories, although there might be some rooting interest in Best Actor (George Clooney vs Jean Dujardin) and Best Actress (Viola Davis vs Meryl Streep)

The Artist has moved from 1:6 odds in early February to 1:12 now, increasing its implied chances of winning from 72% to over 78%.  A similar trend is seen in the Best Director race (see the updated charts below by clicking “read more”).

            averages from

     BEST PICTURE       Feb 20    Feb 8        

     The Artist           1:12     1:6    Even more the favorite
     The Descendants     10:1      6:1    Fading
     Hugo                20:1     14:1    Fading
     The Help            20:1     18:1    Slightly less likely
     War Horse           40:1     26:1    Fading fast
     Midnight in Paris   78:1     55:1    Falling out fast
     Moneyball           80:1     56:1    Falling out fast
     Extremely Loud &    88:1     59:1    Falling out fast
      Incredibly Close  
     The Tree of Life    88:1     73:1    Falling out fast

     Michel Hazanavicius  1:9      1:6    Improving odds
     Martin Scorcese      5:1      4:1    Hanging in there
     Alexander Payne     20:1     13:1    Fading
     Terrence Malick     40:1     37:1    Fading 
     Woody Allen         44:1     35:1    Fading fast


The Artist is also showing some late momentum in Best Actor with Jean Dujardin improving from 6:4 odds (about a 33% chance of winning) to 7:10 (about 49%).  George Clooney (in color and with full sound) has faded from 1:2 (about a 55% chance of winning) to 11:10 (about 40%).  This is the only category in which all of the long-shot nominees have a better shot of winning (even Demian Bichir from the $1.8 million grossing A Better Life has gone from 57:1 to 42:1).  

In Best Actress, Viola Davis from The Help is slightly more of a favorite, moving from 5:6 (46% chance) to 4:6 (about 51%).  But don’t count out Iron Lady Meryl Streep, who is certainly practicing and perfecting her shocked look (remember the Golden Globes?), holding fairly steady — 1:1 (42% chance) in early February to 11:10 (40%) now.  The other three nominees in the category have fallen out of the running according to oddsmakers.

            averages from

     BEST ACTOR         Feb 20    Feb 8                     
     Jean Dujardin        7:10     6:4    Moving up to #1 
     George Clooney      11:10     1:2    Moving down to #2

     Brad Pitt           18:1     25:1    Slightly improved
     Gary Oldman         22:1     29:1    Slightly improved
     Demian Bichir       42:1     57:1    Slightly improved

     Viola Davis          4:6      5:6    Improved odds
     Meryl Streep        11:10     1:1    Slightly worse
     Michelle Williams   19:1     14:1    Fading
     Glenn Close         62:1     40:1    Fading fast
     Rooney Mara         64:1     42:1    Fading fast

No significant changes in the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories.  Congratulations, Mr. Plummer and Ms. Spencer.         

            averages from

     SUPPORTING ACTOR   Feb 20    Feb 8                     

     Christopher Plummer  1:50     1:25   More of a certainty 
     Kenneth Branagh     16:1     18:1    Moving up to distant #2
     Max Von Sydow       20:1      9:1    Fading

     Nick Nolte          39:1     32:1    Fading 
     Jonah Hill          61:1     46:1    Fading fast

     Octavia Spencer      1:25     1:20   Slightly stronger 
     Berenice Bejo        9:1      9:1    Steady 
     Jessica Chastain    23:1     18:1    Fading
     Melissa McCarthy    44:1     32:1    Fading fast
     Janet McTeer        49:1     33:1    Fading fast

Midnight in Paris remains the one to beat for Best Original Screenplay, edging up from 2:5 (about 60% chance of winning) to 2:7 (66%)  The Artist is still lurking as the most likely to upset Woody Allen, now 5:2 (24% chance) although that is down from 2:1 (28%) earlier in the month.  In Adapted Screenplay, The Descendants has improved from 2:5 (61%) to 1:5 (71% chance).  It seems only Moneyball stands in its way (adapting the wonderful, detailed Michael Lewis book into a character-driven film was quite an achievement), but the odds are now 5:1 (14% chance) from 4:1 (17%) earlier in the month.         

            averages from

     ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Feb 20    Feb 8 
     Midnight in Paris    2:7      2:5    Slightly improved odds 
     The Artist           5:2      2:1    Slightly worse chance 
     Bridesmaids         28:1     23:1    Up from #5 to #3
     A Separation        30:1     19:1    Fading fast
     Margin Call         36:1     19:1    Fading fast

     The Descendants      1:5      2:5    Closing the sale 
     Moneyball            5:1      4:1    Relatively steady 
     Hugo                10:1      5:1    Fading
     Tinker Tailor       17:1     14:1    Fading
     Ides of March       38:1     22:1    Fading fast

On to Sunday.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."