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Hit the red carpet and find out the best bets for the Oscars 2014

Paddy Power's Oscars guru Nick Gillespie goes through the runners and riders for this year's celebrity showdown in Hollywood

by Josh Powell | January 17, 2014

Nick Gillespie | The Oscars 2014

The nominations are in and we are now just weeks away from crowning Hollywood’s best of the best from the past year. The stars will be out in force in the Dolby Theatre in LA on March 2, but when the big night comes will you be quids in?

Best Picture betting: Desktop | Mobile

The contenders:

  • 12 Years a Slave 2/7
  • American Hustle 3/1
  • Gravity 11/1
  • The Dallas Buyers Club 25/1
  • The Wolf of Wall Street 25/1
  • Captain Phillips 40/1
  • Nebraska 66/1
  • Philomena 66/1
  • Her 100/1

12 Years a Slave continues to head the betting, and has done for a number of months, at 2/7.

Despite picking up the Golden Globe for Best Picture Drama that is by no means a sure-fire indicator of a win here. In the last 10 years the Golden Globes have only correctly predicted the Best Picture winner on 4 occasions. This is despite the fact that they get 2 chances at doing so (Best Drama and Best Musical/Comedy!).

The audience pleasing Gravity is 11/1, but is far too much of a genre film to win, it’s likely to pick up a number of effects and technical awards though. My eyes will firmly be on American Hustle (3/1), David O. Russell’s films have a tremendous Oscar record over the last few years and this is his best shot so far at winning Best Picture.

The Favourite: 12 Years a Slave

Nick’s Pick: American Hustle

Best Director betting: Desktop | Mobile

The contenders:

  • Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) 4/11
  • Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) 9/4
  • David O. Russell (American Hustle) 12/1
  • Martin Scorcese (The Wolf of Wall Street) 18/1
  • Alexander Payne (Nebraska) 50/1

Of the 85 Academy Awards so far only 22 of which have awarded Best Picture and Best Director to separate films.

Though this happened just last year it was the first time in a few years, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it occurred for the second year in a row here. The natural charm Alfonso Cuaron effused in his acceptance of his Golden Globe for Best Director could be enough to edge him towards victory at the Academy Awards, (a good, or bad, public display has a lot of sway with the image conscious Academy), so it’s no surprise that he sits as market favourite.

This is the category that 12 Years a Slave has its best chance in. Steve McQueen, (calm down, it’s a different guy. Zombies haven’t risen and started directing films…yet!), puts in some striking work and certainly has more of the art house feel that will appeal to the Academy.

Despite my obvious love for American Hustle, David O. Russell won’t have much of a chance winning this, simply because the Academy will be splitting victories between Best Film and Best Director.

The Favourite: Alfonso Cuaron

Nick’s Pick: Alfonso Cuaron

Best Actor betting: Desktop | Mobile

The contenders:

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) 4/6
  • Matthew McConaughey (The Dallas Buyers Club) 6/4
  • Leonardo Di Caprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) 8/1
  • Christian Bale (American Hustle) 12/1
  • Bruce Dern (Nebraska) 33/1

It would make for a wonderful Oscar moment if Chiwetel Ejiofor won just to see the desperate twitter jockeys trying to spell his name. Ejiofor is favourite just now, but he was also favourite heading into the Golden Globes, which gave us the surprise winner of Matthew McConaughey.

McConaughey has been in fantastic form the last couple of years and this could be the zenith of his career comeback. His main threat comes from Leonardo Di Caprio, who despite being around for so long and having been nominated on three previous occasions, has never won an Oscar. He’s due one sooner or later.

Christian Bale remains the best actor working right now and his performance is fantastic, but sadly the Academy might overlook him on this occasion.

The Favourite: Chiwetel Ejiofor

Nick’s Pick: Matthew McConaughey

Best Actress betting: Desktop | Mobile

The contenders:

  • Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) 1/6
  • Sandra Bullock (Gravity) 5/1
  • Amy Adams (American Hustle) 10/1
  • Judi Dench (Philomena) 20/1
  • Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) 33/1

Cate Blanchett is heavy odds on favourite here at 1/6 and rightfully so. She’s a banker. For an interest bet back Amy Adams at 10/1, she’s now been nominated for an Oscar 5 times in the last 9 years. An amazing feat, even more so when you consider that she’s yet to win and nearly all others to have achieved the same have won at least once.

The Favourite: Cate Blanchett

Nick’s Pick: Amy Adams

Best Supporting Actor betting:
Desktop | Mobile

The contenders:

  • Jared Leto (The Dallas Buyers Club) 1/4
  • Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave) 4/1
  • Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) 11/1
  • Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) 16/1
  • Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) 20/1

Jared Leto’s win at the Golden Globes confirmed his stature as favourite for this and couple with fellow Dallas Buyers Club star Matthew McConaughey winning, it raises some interesting stats ahead of Oscars.

Only three times in Oscar history have the Best Actor and Supporting Actor winners come from the same film, the last of which happened in 2003 (Sean Penn/Tim Robbins for Mystic River).

But here’s an even better stat that gives hope to another of our contenders: Since 2011, films directed by David O. Russell have received a total of seven nominations across all acting categories and won three of those. This stands Bradley Cooper in very good stead (he himself received a nomination for Best Actor last year for his role in Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook).

At 20/1 outsider and those stats backing him up he’s worth a small interest at least. ‘Comedic’ performances always stand out more in the Best Supporting categories so Jonah Hill is another good option against the favourite.

The Favourite: Jared Leto

Nick’s Pick: Jonah Hill or Bradley Cooper

Best Supporting Actress betting:
Desktop | Mobile

The contenders

  • Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) 4/6
  • Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) 6/4
  • Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) 8/1
  • June Squibb (Nebraska) 20/1
  • Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) 40/1

Jennifer Lawrence is the hottest star around right now…she’s also a pretty good actress. Her win at the Golden Globes only cemented that fact and she’s on course to win her second consecutive Oscar. Lupita Nyong’o may be the favourite, but she doesn’t stand a chance here and with Lawrence still odds against at 6/4 this is an opportunity not to be missed.

The Favourite: Lupita Nyong’o

Nick’s Pick: Jennifer Lawrence

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