Early Oscars Odds: Is Dunkirk a Lock For Best Picture?

by Kevin Roberts
on September 21, 2017

The second we see a great movie or acting performance, we can’t help but think whether or not it’s Oscar-worthy. That can be fun in years that seem stacked with elite filmmaking and acting, but when the hits come early, it can make for some troublesome entertainment betting.

That’s arguably what the war epic Dunkirk has done. The Christopher Nolan monster has dominated the summer like few films can, with arguably Stephen King’s IT being the only thing to come close to trumping it.

A tour de force in acting, filmmaking, directing and visual effects, Nolan’s most recent gem takes us into the harrowing reality of the 1940 beaches of Dunkirk. The film tells us more about humanity and survival than actual war, while truly winning is really just about getting out alive.

Dunkirk Best Picture Odds

Overall, it’s a potential Oscar winner, too, and the early odds don’t disagree. The big question, of course, is will it win?

There’s no easy answer, as we’re still far away from the 2018 Academy Awards, which see the top stars in Hollywood hitting the red carpet for the 90th time in early March.

We’re bound to fall in love with more cinema as the rest of 2017 unravels, too, which may work against Dunkirk in the end

For now, it leads the way as the most impactful and memorable film of the year and is the early favorite to take home Best Picture in 2018, per top entertainment betting sites:

  • Dunkirk +300
  • Phantom Thread +600
  • The Papers +700
  • Downsizing +1000
  • The Current War +1000
  • Call Me By Your Name +1200
  • Detroit +1200
  • Mother! +1200
  • Mudbound +1600
  • The Shape of Water +1600
  • The Darkest Hour +2000
  • Suburbicon +2000
  • The Beguiled +2000
  • The Greatest Showman +2000
  • Wonderstruck +2000
  • Battles of the Sexes +2500
  • Blade Runner 2049 +2500
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi +2500
  • Murder on the Orient Express +3300
  • Wind River +3300

It’s difficult to find updated odds for the 2018 Oscars for two huge reasons: the race is far from over and some potential contenders haven’t even been seen by the public yet.

If you can find wagering opportunities for Best Picture, however, the time to strike could be now.

There are some advantageous odds in this list alone and as things shift, we might get even better value for some of these contenders.

Of the group above, the films to monitor are undoubtedly Dunkirk, The Current War, Detroit, Mudbound, The Shape of Water and The Darkest Hour. All of these films bare the resembles of past winners and carry favorable odds.

Sleepers we need to consider, of course, are Murder on the Orient Express and Winder River, while it’s tough to rule out a masterful job out of another Star Wars movie if it fires on all cylinders.

Is This Dunkirk’s Race to Lose?

This would go down as Nolan’s first win for Best Picture (or anything) at the Oscars, so it’s fair to suggest donning Dunkirk as an easy winner could be a stretch. This is the same guy who has made groundbreaking films like Inception, Interstellar and pumped fresh blood into the Batman franchise.

There is reason for optimism here, though. The film drew rave reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes critics scoring it at a staggering 93% and the base audience giving it a collective 82%. Those are pretty fantastic scores for a war epic – or any movie.

But don’t take our word for it or a site known for accurately grading movies. How about a veteran who was actually there? That’s right, 97-year old Ken Sturdy was on site helping retrieve soldiers during that fateful time in history and after seeing the movie declared it looked and felt just like the real thing.

That might not be relatable for common moviegoers, critics or even the decision-makers for the Oscars, but it might shed some light on just how well done this film was. If the Academy cares about authenticity and a film with true soul, then Dunkirk seems to have as good of a chance as any movie in the running.

Will Dunkirk Win Best Picture?

Not every good war film wins a Best Picture award, but the ones done in elite fashion tend to leave a lasting impact and go over well at the Academy Awards.

The Hurt Locker (2011) is the most recent war-ish film to win, while few will forget the likes of Platoon (1986) or The Deer Hunter (1978).

Then again, some pretty awesome war movies have also gotten the Oscars snub, with Saving Private Ryan standing out the most in recent memory. Steven Spielberg won Best Director for his efforts, but this rescue mission marathon starring Tom Hanks ultimately lost out to…American Beauty?

Ultimately, Dunkirk being a war movie or not isn’t the issue. It was masterfully done and it’s understandably leading the way.

What could derail it, however, is a saturated field and/or numerous contenders that rise to the top.

It’s early, but I’d be most worried about Detroit, Mudbound, The Shape of Water and The Darkest Hour. The Oscars don’t just vote any movie into being the best movie of the year. Even in a crowded field, it usually is going to be such an outstanding collaboration of directing, acting, storytelling and visual effects that the answer will just feel so obvious.

Of course, we could also run into a situation like this, too:

In all seriousness, the 2018 Oscars odds are going to change greatly and right now some entertainment betting sites aren’t even ready to push out their wagers yet.

Dunkirk is absolutely in the lead, but we’ll want to check out all of the highly rated contenders over the next few months before finalizing our bets.

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