2016 Oscars Betting Sleepers: 5 Dark Horses to Look Out For
The 88th Academy Awards hit the red carpet running on Sunday night, as Leonardo Dicaprio eyes his first Oscars award and several other deserving performers, directors and films themselves could be rewarded for their efforts on the big screen.
There has certainly been some noise about the top Oscars snubs, and rightfully so, but the nominees as a whole still feel quite deserving. In fact, when you start thinking about the Oscars odds for this year, it’s arguably weird that some of the best performances probably will be swept under the rug and all but forgotten after the night is up.
That being said, we thought it’d be nice to pay homage to some of the top Oscars sleepers before the bright lights hit Hollywood, by pointing out some of the top dark horses to steal the show. Here are our favorites to come out of nowhere to snag an Oscar on February 28th:
Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Redmayne shocked everyone with a huge win in this same category last year, thanks to his spot on portrayal of the legendary Stephen Hawking. Redmayne put his versatility to work yet again in The Danish Girl, where he plays a man set to undergo one of the first ever sex changes.
On talent alone Redmayne sticks with this year’s classy bunch of Best Actor candidates, but he feels like a fun sleeper for the same reason he did last year – because he’s kind of coming out of nowhere still. Considering he nailed a role in a strong film that speaks volumes about a debate very much alive in this day and age, he is easily one of the strongest sleeper candidates in the Best Actor pool. Leonardo Dicaprio is due and both Matt Damon and Michael Fassbender wouldn’t be bad picks, but as shocking as back to back wins would be, Redmayne might actually deserve it. With reasonable +1200 odds, he’s a solid bet if you want to win some money on Oscars night.
Best Supporting Actor – Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
Hardy is probably my favorite sleeper for three reasons: he was amazing in The Revenant, the Best Supporting Actor doesn’t have a lock outside of perhaps Sylvester Stallone and if Dicaprio doesn’t win, he feels like a solid make-up pick.
The Oscars tend to go this way at times and one of two paths can be taken: either The Revenant is honored for being as good as it truly was and it sweeps the Oscars like few movies can, or we see some shockers like Dicaprio and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu fall short. It’s much more likely that the latter both win and Hardy loses out to Stallone, but if you’re seekign a Best Supporting Actor sleeper, he’s not a bad bet (+800).
Best Actress – Jennifer Lawrence (Joy)
If I’m being honest, I don’t really have a good feel for Best Actress this year, making the odds on favorite (Brie Larson) the safe play. I think she’s a lock to win, even though this is a decent field with some power house names.
That being said, Lawrence has been riding hot ever since she took over The Hunger Games franchise and sometimes Hollywood seems to just want to reward the top ascending stars before they’ve actually even earned their stripes. Lawrence was quite convincing in Joy, however, so she could be a candidate to come out of the woodwork and steal a win. Pure name recognition and a strong performance suggest it’s possible, while her +1200 odds could be fun to play with.
Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful 8)
This is another up in the air category, although it feels like it’s a two lady race between the favorite (Alicia Vikander) and Rooney Mara. Truth be told, Mara stands a decent chance at taking down Vikander and her odds aren’t bad at all (+200), but if you want to go big in this category, you might as well swing for the fences with Jennifer Jason Leigh or Rachel McCadams. Both were quite strong in big moves with mostly male casts, yet they stood out in a huge way. Their performances were tough to miss, which is why they still made it past several deserving nominees. McCadams is a major long shot, but Jason Leigh displayed exceptional charisma and grit in a very odd performance. If there is a surprise here, it’s her.
Best Director – Lenny Abrahamson (Spotlight)
Personally, the direction of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu has been borderline impeccable in his last two feature films and it’s pretty unlikely anyone else wins in this category. However, there are a ton of good movies with great direction here and Spotlight is one that could rival The Revenant in the top two categories. I think this could be another “make-up” call, should The Revenant win Best Actor and/or Best Picture already. Spotlight is a real threat for the latter and could also be in the mix for this spot. That’d make Lenny Abrahamson a big name to watch, even shockingly amazing (for betting) +3300 odds.
Best Picture – Mad Max: Fury Road
Last, but certainly never least, is the Best Picture nominee. This one is very likely going to The Revenant or Spotlight, but experts and the public (and Vegas) are torn across the board with five options receiving +2000 odds or better.
I think The Revenant is going to crush the Oscars this year and if not, Spotlight is the movie to come down with the wrecking ball. The dark horse to consider, however, is going to be George Miller’s reborn Mad Max series. It truly is a special run of cinema, both in regards to tone and action, and sometimes the Oscars just surprise us with the direction they go in. This is not your usual Best Picture contender, and that’s kind of the point. At +2000, it’s a fun bet and one that has a realistic chance despite a pretty stacked field.
Got your own take on potential Oscars sleepers for Sunday night? Let us hear all about it in the comments below! Enjoy the show!
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