Updated Updated: August 29, 2019

Betting on Oscars


Every year, many of the most famous and
accomplished figures in the film industry converge in Los Angeles in order to
attend the Academy Awards ceremony, more commonly known as the Oscars. Prizes
are awarded for the best films, the best actors and directors and many other
categories, as the hard work put into movie production over the past few years
is publicly recognized and awarded.


Whilst the stars themselves are vying to
take home one of the trademark golden statuettes given out at the event, many
more people around the world will be watching on television to see who wins.
But unbeknownst to many of those people, it is actually possible to place bets
on the outcome of the Oscars and take home a sizeable pot of winnings.


The ‘Oscars’ themselves are the trophies
depicting an abstract male figure. Whilst the origin and name is
disputed, the statues made their appearance at the first Academy
Awards ceremony back in 1929. Since then, they have been given out at every
ceremony, though during the war they were made out of plaster disguised as gold
due to the shortage of many metals. The results of the awards are kept as a
closely guarded secret until their announcement, printed on cards in a number
of sealed envelopes that will be opened by the announcers for each category.


Betting On The Oscars Or Betting On Sports

When it comes to betting on the Academy
Awards, many potential gamblers may make the mistake of thinking that it works
like betting on the outcome of a sporting competition. This isn’t necessarily
the case. Sports have a huge amount of variables that need to be taken into
consideration when placing a bet. This can include things such as the physical
and mental condition of the opposing players, the weather, the location where
the competition is being held and many other factors. All of these influences
mean that anything can happen during the contest, making it hard to be certain
of the outcome.


Meanwhile, the Oscars have relatively
little in the way of transient variables present in sports games or
tournaments, making the criteria for determining a winner simultaneously harder
and easier. The Oscars have fixed nominees and the results are decided well
ahead of time. This means that there is much more time to
analyse the situation
and make a rational decision. However, the Academy Awards use a panel of judges
to reach a decision, meaning that the personal tastes and interests of the
panel play a role, leading to some surprising results. This reliance on subjective
views of a film and its actors may prove frustrating to sports gamblers who are
instead used to an objective summary of a competition and making a decision
based purely on the facts.


The relatively fixed nature of the
Oscars also mean that the bookmaker’s odds will not greatly change over time
unless unforeseen events get in the way. However, just because there might not
be the crazy odds that some sporting events can provide, there is still plenty
of scope to profit. This is because careful analysis of the available
information released in the months leading up to the ceremony can help people
work out who the winner will be and bet with confidence.


When Is The Best Time To Bet On The Oscars?

Due to the way the Oscars work – with
the winners being decided well in advance of the actual ceremony – many people
will wait until the last possible moment to place their bets. This is because
as time goes on, more and more tidbits of information will inevitably come out,
thereby clearing up much of the uncertainty surrounding who will get the prize.
If they read the lay of the land correctly, a punter can potentially identify
the winner with a massive degree of certainty. Gossip columns and websites that
in movies and the wider business surrounding them can prove valuable resources
to keep tabs on as the ceremony draws nearer.


However, an alternative school of
thought is that taking the direct opposite route is the best way to maximize a
gambler’s profits. This is the date of the awards ceremony draws near, news
becomes public and can be used to draw a more complete picture of which of the
nominees will win. This certainty amongst gamblers will also be reflected
amongst the bookmakers, resulting in them refining their odds to less lucrative
levels in order to avoid a potential loss. As such, it can be a good idea to
place a bet long before the actual date of the ceremony, in order to take
advantage of the uncertainty and potentially collect a higher amount of winnings.
This is especially true if the gambler has a large amount of knowledge
regarding the film industry already and can read the signs long before more
casual observers start to take notice.


Betting Tips

Whilst the subjective nature of a
judge’s decision can vary wildly, there are some Oscars betting tips that may
help you reach a reasoned decision.


The first method is to follow the awards
given out at other organizations’ ceremonies and use them as a method to refine
your personal Oscars betting odds. These ceremonies are often great indicators
for predicting which figures will sweep the prizes at the Academy Awards, as outstanding
performances and work will tend to be rewarded on multiple occasions. For
example, a performer winning the Best Actor trophy at the Critic’s Choice Awards
will win an Oscar in the same category nine times out of ten. This doesn’t
require much effort to research and keep tabs on and can result in huge
profits, making it a great method for a quick win.


The second tip is to try and stay aware
of trends and causes that nominees are getting involved with and how they are
perceived by the general public and media alike. Some might say that the Oscars
is as much about a celebrity’s public profile as it is about their body of
work. Whilst being thrust into the limelight in a positive fashion can do much
to raise a star’s odds of winning an award, a scandal can have entirely the
opposite effect.


It’s also a good idea to keep up to date
with news sites and blogs that speculate about the outcome of the Oscars. If
insider information leaks from the Academy, then the potential winners and
losers may be revealed ahead of schedule. Even smaller pieces of information
can prove invaluable, as judges, directors and other people with a unique
perspective of the events may be able to provide some crucial insights that can
be put to use when calculating the odds. Naturally, though, all individual
sources will be somewhat biased when it comes to discussing projects or
professionals that they are close to, so be prepared to take some statements
with a grain of salt.


Owing to the large number of categories
and the relative certainty with which some winners can be predicted, many
gamblers can profit by placing an accumulator bet. What this will do is chain
together multiple wagers, exponentially raising the amount of winnings as each
one is proven right. However, just one loss will lead to the failure of the
bet, wiping out any potential profits. For this reason, it is best to use an
accumulator to bet on multiple awards that are easier to predict (Best Actor,
Best Actress, Best Director) and raise profits. This can be especially
straightforward if the available information leads you to think the results are
a sure thing and can provide a good return when the odds for individual bets
are not particularly lucrative.



Previous Winners

In previous years, there have been some
pretty decent odds offered on some of the outcomes of the ceremony. In 2019 for
instance, Roma won Best Picture with odds offered at 4/1, whilst Alfonso Cuaron
won Best Director at almost 3/1. Savvy gamblers would have remembered the
amount of praise heaped on both during the run-up to the ceremony and would
have adjusted their picks accordingly. Most winners will typically end up in
the 3/1 to 5/1 range, especially as press speculation begins to impact on the
available odds and the final decision seems to become more and more of a sure
thing. That said, runners up seldom lag that far behind, making it tough to
pick a winner based on odds alone.


Also, there have been some mistakes made
in the past when it comes to the Academy Awards that could give some gamblers
pause for thought. The most recent of these came in 2017 when Warren Beatty
and Faye Dunaway were given the wrong envelope for their category, resulting in
the movie La La Land being awarded the Best Picture Oscar.


The mistake was soon rectified, however,
and the award was given to the film Moonlight instead, as was originally
intended. Nonetheless, it must have been an uncomfortable few minutes for
people who had correctly put their money on Moonlight being the winner. Also,
in 1940 the Los Angeles Times accidentally revealed the winners of the awards
early, leading to the secrecy that so famously surrounds the awards nowadays.
In the age of computer hacking and leaks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a
similar situation occurs in the next few decades.



Although it may seem outlandish, placing
a wager on the results of the Oscars can be a safe way to turn a profit. With
the amount of relevant information easily available online, it can be simpler
than ever to narrow down the potential winners and at the very least, predict
the nominees.



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