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BAFTAs Betting: For once it could pay to back The Favourite

A BAFTA award
Who will take home a BAFTA on 10 February?

The BAFTA nominees have been announced, with British period comedy drama The Favourite leading the way, ahead of rock biopics and a slow-burning masterpiece from Mexico. Max Liu has a look at the betting...

"There’s a lot of love for The Favourite, as indicated by the £4m it earned at UK and Ireland box offices in its first week. If it proves equally popular with BAFTA members, then 6/1 is a steal."

Hot on the heels of its success at the Golden Globes, The Favourite leads the way at the BAFTAs with 12 nominations. The period drama features a stellar performance from Olivia Colman as Queen Anne, while its main rival is concerned with a Queen of a different kind: Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of the British rock band, is up for seven BAFTAs, as is the similarly musical A Star is Born, as well as First Man and Roma.

The BAFTAs, which have been dubbed "the respectable, serious, smarter younger brother of the blingy American Oscars", will be awarded at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 10 February, a fortnight before the focus switches to Hollywood for the Oscars on the 24th.

Favourite is not jolly for Best Film or Director

On Sunday, the Golden Globes, which kicks off entertainment award season, had a very British flavour to it, with Colman, Ben Whishaw and Bohemian Rhapsody - the story of one of the biggest British rock bands of the past 50 years - all celebrating.

At the BAFTAs, you might expect British stars to triumph, but that's not exactly what the odds indicate at this point. The Favourite is not the, er, favourite to win Best Film, with Roma 1/1 leading the way in that category and a Star is Born and The Green Book following, both at 11/4. Spike Lee's powerful but flawed BlacKkKlansman brings up the rear at 12/1.

Roma is a stunning achievement and Alfonso Cuaron, who dived deep into his memories of growing up in Mexico when conceiving the black and white picture, is a worthy favourite for Best Director at 1/8.

But that doesn't necessarily mean Roma wins Best Film. Last year, Guillermo del Torro won best director but his movie, The Shape of Water, was beaten by Three Billbaords (ugh) to Best Film. Could we sit a director/film split this year too? Yes, and at the odds available it makes sense to back The Favourite for Best Film.

The Green Book edged The Favourite in the Best Comedy/Musical category at the Globes, but there's a lot of love for The Favourite, as indicated by the £4m it earned at UK and Ireland box offices in its first week. If it proves equally popular with BAFTA members, then 6/1 is a steal.

Can Olivia Colman beat Glenn Close to best actress?

Olivia Colman - 1280.jpg

At the Globes, Colman won best leading actress (Comedy/Musical) while Glenn Close won the same award for her performance in the Wife in the drama category. Thankfully, the BAFTAs, like the Oscars, don't split films into separate categories by genre, so here Colman and Close are up against each other. At the moment, the market can't split them, with both actresses priced up at 11/10, although I wouldn't back either at those odds.

At the Oscars, bettors think it won't be nearly as close (sorry), with the American the [1.41] favourite and the Brit next in the betting [4.3]. I'd say those odds on Colman were tempting if it didn't look nailed on that the Academy will be keen to reward a mature American actress, just like it did with Frances McDormand last year, ahead of a British newcomer (in Hollywood terms, at least).

Malek looks untouchable at the BAFTAs but might bite the dust at the Oscars

As for the actors, Rami Malek is expected to follow up his Globe win and take best leading actor at the BAFTAS for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. It's weird with this film, as it received fairly lukewarm reviews but has emerged as an awards season favourite, although not without controversy. I still think it'll fall short in the Best Film category but I'm not willing to oppose the charismatic Malek here.

The Oscars are another matter. Yes, Exchange bettors are backing Malek [1.64] for glory here too, but perhaps Christian Bale [3.35] or even Bradley Cooper [4.7] could cause an upset.

We'll discuss that, as well as the other leading categories, in further detail after the Oscars nominees are announced on 22 January. In meantime, here's a full list of the BAFTA nominees.

Max Liu,

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