Academy Awards 2018: Oddsmakers Choosing Oscar Favorites

With the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards now set, speculation over who will take home top honors this year is already running rampant.

For cinephiles and movie geeks, the Oscars can be seen as something akin to the Super Bowl. Even though the final lineup may be disappointing, we still get caught up in the competition and can’t help but pore over the details to decide who will be left standing when the celebration is over.

This year’s nominations differ from many years, however, with no glaring omissions left in any of the major categories. And unlike other years, nothing stands out as being out of their element or unfairly nominated. Indeed, any movie that took home Best Picture this year would be more than worthy of its acclaim.

Predicting how the Academy will ultimately vote, however, can often be tricky. While members of the Academy are encouraged to vote only in a category they know well (an actor, for instance, might not vote for Best Sound Design), for categories like Best Picture, any and every of the Academy’s 6,000 members can let their voice be heard.

That alone complicates the process. On top of that, studios often embark on costly campaign pushes to make sure that their films are seen and voted on by the Academy. This leads to the notion that only big budget, studio backed films can ultimately take home the prize, as the smaller indies simply cannot afford the massive push that’s so often required to take home the coveted gold statue.

Occasionally, this does lead to the Academy getting it wrong. More than a few times in the 90-year history of the Oscars, an undeserving film has gotten the top honors. On top of this, there’s the idea that often individuals are awarded Oscars not necessarily for the work they’re nominated for, but simply due to the fact that they’ve never been given the award before. When picking your choices for winners, this is important to keep in mind.

Still, you can always look to a season’s previous awards to begin to make some accurate guesses about winners. Of this year’s 9 Best Picture nominees, four have emerged as solid bets. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird, Get Out, and The Shape of Water have all had their share of awards acclaim this season, giving them a solid edge over their competitors heading into Oscar night. If you were a betting person, one of those four films would be fairly safe, just judging from the acclaim they’ve gotten so far this season.

As ever, odds makers have taken this all into consideration and already odds are being set. For your office pools or just to impress your friends, using those odds are another great way to make your predictions for the ultimate winner.

That being said, every year has its share of upsets and surprises. Sometimes, two films are so heavily favored that the vote can be split, allowing for a dark horse to sneak in with a win. As with sports, it’s often the upset wins that are the most memorable, and so often, to quote the Best Picture winning The Unforgiven, “deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” Ultimately, it’s the unpredictability that makes choosing Oscar winners so fun and exciting.

Who do you think will take home top honors this year? Let us know in the comments.

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