The Oscars are upon us once again, and with the Hollywood stars set to collide on Sunday 28th February, it's looking as though the smart money is on The Revenant and DiCaprio finally bagging his first golden statuette. Alejandro González Iñárritu's period adventure wasn't tipped for a clean sweep at the Oscars when it was first released, but subsequent attention at a host of award ceremonies has increased its chances dramatically.
Thanks to a second consecutive Directors Guild of America (DGA) award for González, the Mexican is now widely tipped to be crowned 'Best Director' at this year's Oscars. All the top bookies are now predicting success for the director, who won the award last year for his film Birdman.
According to Paddy Power Sports, González is the unanimous choice for the 'Best Director' category this year, with odds of 1/14. However, there could be a lot of value in George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) or Adam McKay (The Big Short). In fact, while the DGA Awards are usually a strong indicator of how the Oscars will play out, it's worth noting that only two directors have ever claimed back-to-back awards in this category.
And while the latest incarnation of the Mad Max series might have struggled to shake off the "cult" tag, George Miller is certainly a fair bet at 7/1 with Paddy Power Sports.
Previous years at the Oscars have shown that the winner of the 'Best Actor' award often goes hand-in-hand with the 'Best Director'. This could certainly prove to be the case this time, with Leonardo DiCaprio currently the hot tip for 2016.
Many punters will be wary of the fact that this is the sixth time that DiCaprio has been up for the award, having lost out five times previously. Although this year his odds are some of the shortest they've ever been, the 6,000 members of the Academy often like to surprise, which could leave the door open for last year's winner, Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) or Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs). With both actors priced at 16/1 at William Hill Sports, their chances are not to be overlooked.
In terms of the female nominees this year, many movie-goers and oddsmakers are backing Brie Larson and her portrayal of Ma in Room. The 26-year-old actress has received widespread critical acclaim for her performance as a mother who has spent her life confined to a single room.
Having already won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award, a Critics' Choice award and a BAFTA for the role, Larson looks poised to complete the set with an Oscar this Sunday. William Hill Sports currently has Larson as the 1/20 favourite, which is about the best price currently available.
And for 'Best Picture', which is the final, most hotly anticipated award of the night, all eyes will once again be on The Revenant, whose suspenseful, gritty realism has been capturing global audiences since its release earlier this year. As the 2/5 favourite with Coral Sports, the smart money will certainly be on The Revenant for 'Best Picture'. However, with worthy subject matter, intense performances and award recognition from the Screen Actors Guild for 'Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture', Spotlight could well cause an upset on the night, with odds of 11/4 at Coral Sports.
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