After winning big at BAFTAs and the Golden Globes the WW1 epic is odds-on to win Best Picture. Max Liu discusses this category and more at the Oscars 2020...
"The Obamas-produced American Factory [1.42] tells an important story and will speak to plenty of Americans, especially in election year when the country's future is being hotly debated. But odds of [2.28] for For Sama are appealing, it deserves to win and may well do so."
British director Sam Mendes' 1917 is expected to sweep the board at the Oscars on Sunday night. The World War One drama is [1.58] on the Exchange to win the biggest award of the night, Best Picture, after winning the equivalent award at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.
Last year, there was an upset in the Best Picture category when 3/1 outsider Green Book overturned odds-on favourite Roma. Such surprises are fairly rare, though, and 1917 looks likely to win.
Korean film Parasite [5.2] comes next in the betting but, after the Academy snubbed Roma last year, they will probably not make 2020 the first year that foreign language movie takes Best Picture.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood..., which is directed by Quentin Tarantino (pictured below) and was the early favourite in this category, has drifted to [9.4] since the nominees were announced but seems to have the best chance of beating 1917.
It won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the Globes (1917 won the equivalent award for drama) and it is often said that Hollywood loves nothing more than a story about itself, so it should get the vote of plenty of Academy members. But it's extremely difficult to foresee anything other than a 1917 victory.
If 1917 wins Best Picture does it follow that Mendes will win Best Director? Not necessarily. The Academy often splits the big two awards, it has done so in three of the last five years, including in 2019 when Roma director Alfonso Cuaron did at least win Best Director.
That said, Mendes is [1.25] so it will be a shock if he's beaten. Parasite director Bong Joon Ho [5.5] is considered his nearest rival followed by Tarantino [16.0].
Phoenix and Zellweger shoo-ins for Leading awards...
Joker leads the way with 11 nominations but that doesn't always guarantee success on the night. This time, though, it would be a huge turn up if Joaquin Phoenix [1.04] did not take the Best Leading Actor awards.
Phoenix has been the jolly since the nominees were announced and nothing has happened in the meantime to change that.
The same is true of the Leading Actress betting where Rene Zellweger [1.1] - like Phoenix, a winner at the Globes and the BAFTAs - has been odds-on for aeons, thanks to her performance as Judy Garland.
There are similary short prices in the categories for supporting actor and actress. Brad Pitt is [1.04] to take the former and, in the latter, Laura Dern [1.06] for her performance as a divorce lawyer in Marriage Story.
Syrian war documentary could be bet of the night
Have you seen For Sama? If so, you're probably still recovering from two of the most soul shaking hours in cinematic memory. If not, see it. Waad Al-Kateab filmed it while living through the siege of Aleppo, giving birth in the process, and it's hard to think of anyone who has seen it not voting for it against the other films nominated here.
Certainly that was how BAFTA members felt as they gave this award there last weekend. The Obamas-produced American Factory [1.42] tells an important story, of what happens when a Chinese firm takes over a factory in America's Midwest, and it will speak to plenty of Americans, especially in election year when the country's future and its identity is being hotly debated.
But odds of [2.28] for For Sama are appealing, it deserves to win and may well do so.