Betting the Oscars: Argo Expected to Take Home Best Picture

A powerful group of films from the major Hollywood studies highlight a solid year for the film industry. Argo, at -465, remains the heavy favorite for the Best Picture. That’s usually the result when a film wins the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild Awards, and the Producers Guild Award. Lincoln is the second choice; a $100 bet on the film would net $600 if the Steven Spielberg film is able to pull off the upset. Les Miserables, at 15-1, is the third choice. The Life of Pi (25-1), Zero Dark Thirty (30-1), Silver Linings Playbook (27-1), Django Unchained (36-1), Armour (40-1), and Beasts of the Southern Wild (75-1) all are long shots to bring home the Oscar.

If you are looking for a long shot, look at Silver Linings Playbook. The critically acclaimed movie garnared eight Oscar nominations, and has Harvey Weinstein lurking in the background. Weinstein is the king of the Oscars, knowing how to pick movies that bring home the gold statues. And make money; Silver Linings Playbook has already earned seven times its cost of production.

Lincoln was the front-runner when the nominations were released in November. The Spielberg story of the 16th president bullying the 13th Admentment through a divided Congress received eleven Oscar nominations in addition to the Best Picture. While the initial buzz has subsided, there is still plenty of gas in the take for Lincoln to surprise.

But Argo is the horse to beat in this race. Directed by Ben Affleck, Argo was initially overlooked as an Oscar worthy film. Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln and Les Miserables all got more Oscar hype. But each faltered, and Argo got its surge, winning the Golden Globes and sweeping all the Guild Awards. The failure of Afffleck to receive a nomination for Best Director, usually a must for Best Picture winners, now looks like it might be an advantage to the film. Many observers were dismayed when Affleck was snubbed for Best Director and Best Actor nominations for Argo. To some, the screwing of Affleck can only be rectified by Argo taking down the main prize.