New from Every Movie Has a Lesson by Don Shanahan: EDITORIAL: Who the odds favor for the 92nd Academy Awards

(Image: theblackandblue.com)

(Image: theblackandblue.com)

Even if we feel very sure about which name is going to come out of an Oscar envelope on the stage of Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, there is still a frozen moment of anticipation.  The outcome could elicit two results of satisfaction. First, we are either rooting for a personal favorite that carried our hopes. Alternatively and second, we want to have our predictions come true to validate our opinions.

With the awards season coming to an end, there are many potential Academy Award winners for its upcoming 92nd annual ceremony that feel like foregone conclusions or leadpipe locks.  Why? Well, there are odds and trends to examine in many directions. Let’s take a look at some of those.

All the things pointing in the direction of 1917

The Sam Mendes World War I dramatic thriller has been the late surger this awards season.  Unlike films like Joker or the The Irishman which have faded since their late fall debuts, 1917 timed their release as if it was primed to get the last word in.  It is peaking at the right time for the big awards. In the prediction department, winning the Producers Guild of America Award, matching the voting core of the Best Picture race, was huge, even bigger than its Golden Globe win for Best Motion Picture- Drama.  The Directors Guild of America honoring Sam Mendes is extra cement. 1917 is a -200 to -230 favorite and it’s easy to see why.   

All the things pointing in the direction of Parasite

No film this year has as much universal praise as Bong Joon-ho’s genre-defying drama.  It tops more critics’ Top 10 lists for 2019 (and even some decade-best lists) than any other film by a wide margin.  The praise has created an unmatched excitement factor on whether this foreign film can break the same glass ceiling Roma cracked last year.  The Screen Actors Guild ensemble prize was a nice win for the trophy case.  A Best Picture win would be remarkable and historic. Betting odds have Parasite second to 1917 at +400.    

All the things pointing in the direction of Joker

The Todd Phillips-directed villain origin yarn comes into the 92nd Academy Awards with the most total nominations at 11.  That looms large with voters, but, at the same time, it’s been the most polarizing film of 2019. For as many people that praise it, an equal number revile it.  Joker’s best places to win Oscar gold are in original score for Hildur Guðnadóttir (where it would be the first woman to win that award) and Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix.  He is riding high after SAG and Golden Globe wins over Adam Driver from Marriage Story.  Somewhere Jared Leto can’t catch a break, but he’s got his own Oscar.  

All the things pointing in the direction of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

To say it simply, Hollywood loves Hollywood.  Oscar voters and the L.A. crowd adore movies that make their city and industry shiny even when it can be seedy.  The 2019 movie that champions that the most is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood.  Hollywood loves QT and his big stars.  Brad Pitt is overdue and the overwhelming lock for Best Supporting Actor.  If voters don’t connect with 1917 or feel Parasite is too foreign, this 1960s throwback could surprise all with a Best Picture win.  In Vegas and beyond, it’s a third-best +500 odds to win the top spot.  

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