It's almost that time of year again when the cream of Hollywood rises to the top in their finest outfits for an evening of tears, poker-faced smiles and golden statues. That's right, the 2017 Oscars is just around the corner and, ahead of the February 26 ceremony, everyone from the film critics to the bookies are trying to work out one thing: will La La Land steal the show this year?
In the longstanding tradition of a single movie attracting all the attention ahead of the big event, this year almost every "expert" is putting their money behind Damien Chazelle's romantic comedy drama. Of course, it's also a longstanding tradition that the betting favourite doesn't always come away with a gong, which raises the secondary question: are there any other hot tips for the Oscars this time around?
Well, first off, let's look at the movie that everyone's been talking about. According to the latest odds across the major online betting sites, La La Land is the runaway favourite for 'Best Picture'. In fact, so short are the odds that it's almost one of those wagers savvy punters would overlook in favour of something juicier.
For example, at Ladbrokes the best price you'll currently get is odds of 1/9 with the movie's closest rival, Moonlight, coming in with odds at 8/1. Things are slightly better over at Paddy Power, but any bets you make will still only return 1/7 on your money.
If we look at the facts, it's easy to see why the bookies are hot on La La Land. It’s 14 nominations are up there with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997) for the most ever nods. Moreover, the movie has, so far, has grossed $295,635,365 at the box office, which also puts a tick in the box.
Finally, according to Peter Travers in his Rolling Stone Oscars guide, the movie is not only "retro" and "innovative" but it allows audiences to escape "Trumpmania" for two hours.
Beyond the love for La La Land as a movie, Emma Stone is currently the betting favourite for 'Best Actress'. William Hill's betting line has Stone as the 1/6 favourite and Travers' agrees. Riding a wave of "La La Love" as he calls it, Stone looks as though she'll pip Isabelle Huppert to the post. However, as punts go, the Elle actress could be worth a bet at 10/1.
Now, the area in which La La Land appears to fall down is in the Best Actor category. Despite Ryan Gosling being one of Hollywood's darlings, he's currently third in the betting stakes behind Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea) and Denzel Washington (Fences).
For most people's money, Affleck is going to take this one and at 4/7 with Paddy Power he's not a bad price. However, if 2016's "#OscarSoWhite" kicks in, that might be enough of a push to get Mr Washington an Academy Award. Again, like Huppert, Washington would be something of a punt; especially at 13/8.
But what if Washington doesn't win, what about Gosling? Although his performance has been lost in the romance attached to La La Land as a whole, it's hard to ignore a 14/1 price tag at Ladbrokes.
Even if he is an outsider, there's a chance La La fever could infect the judging panel and lead to a clean sweep. While highly unlikely, there's a chance Gosling could get caught up in the same wave of "La La Love" Stone is in – which would make him a solid bet.
In fact, for canny punters reading any Oscars betting preview, unexpected value like Gosling should always be a key consideration. With 14 nominations, the chances are La La Land will at least win the big awards.
However, betting on the Oscars is about more than showpiece winners. With this in mind, here are some outside predictions that could pay dividends if La La Land doesn't get the love many believe it will:
Overall, 2017 looks as though it's going to be the year of La La Land. However, as is often the case, we wouldn't be surprised to see a few upsets. So, if you're looking to make a few bets on this year's ceremony, try thinking outside of the box because there's a lot of potential value out there. Simply visit William Hill now and check out their extensive Ocars betting selection!