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Oscars 2019 Betting Tips: Who Will Win, Who Should Win & Who Are Dark Horses?

Who are the favourites and underdogs for each category in the Oscars this year? Read on for our betting tips and predictions for this year's ceremony. 

The nominations are in and the short lists have been revealed for the 91st Annual Awards – or as they are more affectionally known – The Oscars. On Sunday 24th February 2019, Hollywood’s biggest stars, old and new, will fill the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles to see who will walk away with a coveted Academy Award and (more importantly) to witness whatever dramas, controversies, and award snubs may occur.  

The 2019 nominations came with a few raised eyebrows and plenty of cheering from the rafters. Roma and The Favourite lead the way with 10 nominations apiece with A Star Is Born and Vice both securing 8. The biggest surprise is Black Panther bagging a total of 7 nods, including one for Best Picture, making it the first superhero movie to ever be nominated for the highest award.

But now everyone’s attention turns to the ceremony itself, who the eventual winners will be and where money can be made by correctly predicting the results. Who’s a sure thing and where are the best chances of an upset? Here I take you through who will win, who should win and who is a dark horse in all the major 6 categories, so you have the best tips on where to put your money.


Best Picture

“Black Panther”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“A Star Is Born”

The biggest award of the night is no stranger to controversies; The La La Land/Moonlight mix up of 2017 and Shakespeare In Love winning over Saving Private Ryan in 1999 spring to mind. So, to ever assume this category is a lock is a fool’s game. With that being said, last year’s winner for Best Picture and director - The Shape Of Water and Guillermo Del Toro respectively - were about as easy to predict as you’ll see. It is one of the things that we love about the Oscars and the Best Picture race in particular – it is either a boring, easy-to-call affair or an outrageous controversy… the problem is, you never know which one you are going to get each year!

This year’s front runner is Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. Almost everything about it screams ‘win’: it is a black and white foreign language film with no score, long takes, shot beautifully and directed by a previous Best Director winner in Cuaron. The only red flag is that it is a Netflix movie. Roma is the first Netflix movie to be nominated for Best Picture and because of this no one quite knows what impact that is going to have on its chances of winning. Personally, I don’t think being a Netflix movie will hurt it at all, I actually think it may help it as the movie has been far more accessible to audiences that any of its competitors. But the fact of the matter is, no one really knows and only time will tell. 

Hot on the heels of Roma are Green Book, The Favourite, and A Star Is Born. Of the 3, The Favourite is, well… the favourite to steal the prize. Prior to nominations, Green Book would have been right up there. But with the news that Green Book’s director Peter Farrelly and A Star Is Born director, Bradley Cooper both failed to secure Best Director nominations, this has undoubtably hurt both movies chances of winning Best Picture. I still think Green Book has a chance of making a late rise to the top but as it currently stands, Roma is certainly the one to beat.

As great as BlacKKKlansman and Bohemian Rhapsody were as movies, their Best Picture nominations are credit enough and I can’t see either movie challenging for the win here. The Same goes for Vice; despite grabbing 8 nominations, the movie has had mixed critics reviews and I can’t see the Academy rewarding a movie about Dick Cheney with its highest award of the night.

Now, let’s talk about Black Panther; although the film has a total of 7 nominations, none of these are for acting, directing or screenplay and no super hero movie has ever been nominated for Best Picture, let alone won it. So, there is no way it could win, right? Realistically, no. But in Hollywood anything can happen and Black Panther winning the top prize could be the next step in the evolution of cinema and the Academy Awards. 

Black Panther is written, directed and largely created by black filmmakers and in a year where the film industry has been forced to take a long hard look at itself, a celebration of diversity in Hollywood is not only long overdue, but could well be a significant focus of the 2019 ceremony.

Think about this too; Black Panther grossed over $1 Billion worldwide. Yes, it is an action-packed, CGI adventure, but there is so much more to it than that. Just like many previous Best Picture nominees and winners, Black Panther tackles a host of timely and relevant questions about race and prejudice. The more I think about it, the more I think, it really could happen!

Will Win: Roma

Should Win: Green Book

Dark Horse: Black Panther

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

Best Actor:

Christian Bale, “Vice”
Bradley Cooper, “A Star Is Born”
Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”
Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
Viggo Mortensen, “Green Book”

The Oscar for Lead Actor usually goes to an experienced actor and it is rare that a first-time nominee walks away with the award. However, this year we could see that trend bucked. Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) is the current bookies favourite to win Lead Actor and I think it will stay that way. Don’t get me wrong, this category still has some twists and turns left in it and Christian Bale (Vice) could yet be the eventual winner, but I think Malek has got enough to get over the line. 

Bohemian Rhapsody has grossed over $800 million worldwide despite poor critic’s reviews and controversy surrounding director Brian Singer, and Malek portrays one of the most-loved entertainers in the history of music, the late Freddie Mercury. On the flip side, in Vice, Christian Bale portrays former US Vice President, Dick Cheney. To say that Cheney was not universally loved by the American people would be a colossal understatement and there is much debate as to whether Vice paints Cheney in a better light than many feel he deserves. In simple terms, if it came to a popularity contest better Freddie Mercury and Dick Cheney, I think we all know where most money would be going…

Probably one of the biggest snubs of the Oscar nominations 2019, is Bradley Cooper not being recognised in the Best Director category for A Star Is Born. Many, including myself, had him down as a certain nominee and potentially even a winner of that award, but alas, it was not to be. He did bag himself a Lead Actor nomination for his work in the same movie and his snub from the Director category could strengthen his chances of winning. Cooper is certainly behind Malek and Bale currently, but as dark horse picks go, Cooper is my most likely one to come through and win.

Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) is a surprise nominee and 3-time nominee Viggo Mortensen (Green Book) round out this category but in all honesty, this one is a 3-horse race between Malek, Bale and Cooper.

Will Win: Rami Malek

Should Win: Christian Bale

Dark Horse: Bradley Cooper

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

Best Actress:

Yalitza Aparicio, “Roma”
Glennn Close, “The Wife”
Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
Lady Gaga, “A Star Is Born”
Melissa McCarthy, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

If you would have asked anyone a few months ago who would win the Oscar for Lead Actress, the only name on everyone’s lips was Lady Gaga. Jump forward to January 2019 and the Gaga and A Star Is Born hype has fallen away dramatically. Sure, Gaga could still walk away with the Oscar for Lead Actress but she has definitely fallen down the pecking order behind both Glenn Close (The Wife) and Olivia Colman (The Favourite). There is absolutely no doubt that Lady Gaga will be an Oscar winner in 2019, but not in this category. Her song ‘Shallows’ is nominated for Best Original Song and it will most certainly win, but I think Gaga will have to settle for only 1 Oscar win this time around.

Onto the front runners and this is a very tight one. Possibly the hardest to call of all the major categories and it is between first-time nominee Olivia Colman and now SEVEN-time nominee Glenn Close. Colman’s performance as a comical Queen Anne in The Favourite would be a worthy winner of the lead actress award, but I do think that this is finally Glenn Close’s year. Much like Leonardo DiCaprio’s 4 nominations without a win, Close is yet to be crowned the winner despite her 6 nominations. In the end, Leo finally put his losing streak to bed, winning Lead Actor for 2016’s The Revenant. Not his finest acting performance by any means, but the win was very much not just for The Revenant, but an acknowledgement of a career of outstanding actor roles – and I think the same thing will happen here for Glenn Close. The only difference, and thing that could hurt her chances of the win… barely anyone has seen the film, grossing just under $17 million worldwide.

There is a name that really could upset the applecart in this categories, Yalitza Apricio (Roma). With Roma dominating the nominations lists and likely to win plenty of awards, the movies’ lead actress, Apricio – who had never acted before starring in this film – could sneak in to steal the show. Is it likely to happen? No. But is it possible? Absolutely! When the academy embraces a film, there is no limit to what it can achieve, just look at what happened with The Artist in 2012.   

Will Win: Glenn Close

Should Win: Olivia Colman

Dark Horse: Yalitza Apricio

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

Best Director:

Spike Lee, “BlacKkKlansman”
Pawel Pawlikowski, “Cold War”
Yorgos Lanthimos, “The Favourite”
Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Adam McKay, “Vice”

There are three categories at this year’s Oscar that the bookmakers are indicating are as good as decided already, and Best Director is the first of them. Alfonso Cuaron (Roma) is not only the front runner for the Best Director Oscar, he is so far ahead of the pack that the bookies might as well pay out for it now. Not only is he already an Academy favourite, having won the Best Director award in 2014 for this work on Gravity, but the two Directors that were most likely to give him a run for his money in Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) and Peter Farrelly (Green Book) were not even nominated for the award. 

What’s more, the Academy Awards are no strangers to making political statement choices and this year is not likely to buck that trend. With the US Government in shutdown over President Trump’s proposed wall around Mexico, it is not a stretch to predict that the famously very liberal Academy voters would give their endorsements to Alfonso Cuaron, who not only is Mexican-born himself, but his movie is a Mexican story. If the race for Best Director were even a little bit of a closer call this could be a significant factor, however, this category already looks to be over even before considering the political message this win would send. At this stage, that is simply just more fuel on the fire for an Alfonso Cuaron win.

Although it might not seem like it, there are other directors nominated for this award. If you were to be looking elsewhere for this category, Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite) and another well-loved Academy nominee, Adam McKay (Vice), would be worthy of an outsider’s chance to get the win. The Academy do also like to award people for their work over a long career and such an occasion could bolster veteran director Spike Lee’s chances (BlacKKKlansman). 

In summary, this is one man’s to lose. Granted, upsets do happen, but I just can’t see it here. Congratulations Alfonso Cuaron!

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron

Should Win: Yorgos Lanthimos

Dark Horse: Spike Lee

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

Best Supporting Actor:

Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
Adam Driver, “BlacKkKlansman”
Sam Elliott, “A Star Is Born”
Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Sam Rockwell, “Vice”

This category contains two actors over 60 with their first ever Oscar nominations in Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born) and Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), and the last two previous winners of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in Mahershala Ali (Green Book) and Sam Rockwell (Vice) who won for Moonlight and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri respectively. 

As strong as the pool of talent available for this award is, this is the second of three award categories that is as good as sealed already. Mahershala Ali has already scooped up a Critic’s Choice Award and Golden Globe for his performance in Green Book, and he is extremely likely to add the Oscar to his trophy cabinet too. 

Adam Driver is a worthy dark horse in this category. The supporting actor/actress categories have a history of recognising first-time nominees and ‘rookies’ – much more so than the awards for lead acting. Any other year, Richard E. Grant would be right up there as a potential winner for his performance alongside Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?. Unfortunately for Grant and the rest of the nominees though, Mahershala Ali is a cut above the rest and is all but assured to receive his second Oscar win in three years.


Will Win: Mahershala Ali

Should Win: Richard E. Grant

Dark Horse: Adam Driver

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

Best Supporting Actress:

Amy Adams, “Vice”
Marina de Tavira, “Roma”
Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Emma Stone, “The Favourite”
Rachel Weisz, “The Favourite”

The final of three categories that looks to be determined already is the award for an Actress in a Supporting Role - step forward Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk). Like Mahershala Ali, King has already won the Golden Globe for this role but was surprisingly snubbed by the Screen Actors Guild, not even getting a nomination, although I don’t expect this will hurt her Oscar chances though. In fact, the public backlash to the snub will probably further strengthen her chances for an Oscar win.

Much has been made of the stellar performances of Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz in The Favourite, but with this praise has come criticism that their performances should arguably be considered as leading roles and not supporting. Even ignoring that, having two actresses nominated for the same movie and the same award is most certainly going to dilute the number of votes they will each get. Unfortunately, I do think that this is going to take both out of the running as potential winners.

If there is to be a shock in any of the three categories that the bookmakers (and myself) are suggesting to be ‘sure things’, I think it could be here and her name is Marina de Tavira (Roma). Hear me out; Roma leads the way with the most nominations and is likely to receive a number of Oscar wins too. If Yalitza Aparicio were to secure a win for Lead Actress it could be a double acting win here. Aparicio’s performance in Roma simply does not work without de Tavira’s supporting role and I believe the Academy will either reward both, or neither of them. It’s a long shot, I know, but stranger things have happened, and everyone loves an underdog!

Will Win: Regina King

Should Win: Emma Stone

Dark Horse: Marina de Travira

*Odds correct at 10:38 GMT on 22/2/2019

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