Dutch-language Belgian film to break down Oscars bookies

86th Academy Awards posterThe 86th Academy Awards, colloquially known as the Oscars, are zooming into view and now is the best time to have a dabble on one of the second-tier markets before bookmakers wake up to the reality that their odds do not correspond with the opinions of the world’s top awards analysts.

Most punters tune out of the Academy Awards by this point in the campaigning process because most of the big prizes have odds-on favourites and this year is no exception: Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Alfonso Cuaron, 12 Years A Slave, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong’o are short odds to win Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Directing, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

So one has to dig a little deeper in the Academy Awards odds to find something that represents a touch of value with four weeks to go before Hollywood’s elite dress up to the nines for Tinseltown’s annual back-slapping event in front of billions of television viewers around the world.

One thinks that the most interesting Academy Awards outsider is The Broken Circle Breakdown in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Academy Awards has had a Best Foreign Language Film prize of some sort since 1947, although one could argue that the category has only really existed since 1956 when Federico Fellini’s La Strada won for Italy.

There are five nominees for Best Foreign Language Film: Omar (Palestine); The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium); The Great Beauty (Italy); The Hunt (Denmark); and The Missing Picture (Cambodia). Bookmakers have pinned The Great Beauty, fresh from its success at European Film Awards where it and its participants won four of the most prestigious gongs, as their odds-on favourite ahead of The Hunt, The Broken Circle Breakdown, Omar and The Missing Picture. One can understand why bookmakers have got The Great Beauty at the top of their markets but one cannot understand why The Broken Circle Breakdown is so far behind in third place out of five.

Believe it or not, there are awards aficionados out there who spend minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day discussing not only the Academy Awards but also the dozens of precursors before the big night at the Dolby Theatre. And while they think that The Great Beauty is the Best Foreign Language Film favourite, they give a better chance to The Broken Circle Breakdown than bookmakers do.

Of the 17 experts whose Academy Awards predictions are on the Gold Derby website, five of them have got The Broken Circle Breakdown ahead in the Best Foreign Language Film race. Eleven pundits are favouring The Great Beauty, while there is one lone voice putting Omar in pole position.

Interestingly though, Gold Derby resident Paul Sheehan is one of the five Academy Awards analysts who believe that The Broken Circle Breakdown will win Best Foreign Language Film. That is significant because Sheehan, more than anyone else in the poll, specialises in making awards predictions. The others are merely film critics espousing their views without necessarily having considered trends and so on.

Bet365.com is offering odds of 8.00 that The Broken Circle Breakdown, whose lead actress Veerle Baetens won a European Film Awards honour, takes out the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Belgium has had six nominees over the years but it is yet to win the prize. The Great Beauty represents Italy, which has won 13 times from 28 nominated movies. Denmark has three victories from nine nominees, while both Cambodia and Palestine have had one unsuccessful nominee.

The 86th Academy Awards, which Ellen DeGeneres will host, are scheduled to get under way at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday 2 March 2014. Of course, the time differences mean that the Oscars will take place on the morning of Monday 3 March 2014 anywhere east of the United States of America.

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