Waiting until the Directors Guild of America Awards is the safest way to attack the Best Directing race at the Academy Awards from a punting perspective but the current state of the market invites a dutched bet on two of the contenders.
Spotlight, the Best Picture candidate that one highlighted earlier this month, has gone from odds against to odds on for the Academy Awards statuette. There is such a strong positive correlation between Best Picture and Best Directing at the Academy Awards that Spotlight helmer Thomas McCarthy is a must for one’s list. McCarthy has been nominated for an Academy Awards prize previously – Best Original Screenplay for Up – so Oscars voters like him and he has been getting excellent reviews for his work on Spotlight. PaddyPower is quoting McCarthy at odds of +225 , while he is as short as +150 with Bet365. McCarthy is one of the two men to back.
The other contender for the Best Directing race at the Academy Awards whom one thinks is worthy of a ticket is Ridley Scott. The Martian helmer is 78 years old so the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is running out of time to honour Scott, who is set to receive his fourth Academy Awards nomination after near misses for Thelma & Louise, Gladiator and Black Hawk Down. The Martian, which looks like a lock for a Best Picture nomination, is Scott’s greatest commercial and critical success in years and the British helmer has taken out the National Board of Review trophy already. Scott is available at odds of +400 with Boylesports to win Best Directing at the Academy Awards. Dutch McCarthy and Scott and one ends up with a bet that works out at odds of -103 – close enough to even money.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences admires Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, the Mexican helmer behind The Revenant. Every one of Inarritu’s films have received some kind of Academy Awards love but no helmer has gone back to back in Best Directing since Joseph Mankiewicz not long after World War II. You can bet your bottom dollar that Inarritu will feature among the Best Directing nominees at the Academy Awards but you should not be backing him at his odds because +300 with Ladbrokes represents poor value.
One could give rough chances to both Carol’s Todd Haynes and Mad Max: Fury Road’s George Miller but neither has attracted a Best Directing nomination previously and that is in spite of being under the nose of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members on numerous occasions. David O Russell is the other Best Director player as far as Academy Awards bookmakers are concerned but his movie, Joy, looks out of Best Picture contention, which is a massive negative.
The Directors Guild of America Awards will produce a clear favourite for the Best Directing race at the Academy Awards and one is willing to bet that it will be either McCarthy or Scott. McCarthy merits favouritism given the popularity of Spotlight and the gap between him and Ridley – roughly 11 per cent at their respective best prices – feels about right. Inarritu and Russell are under their correct odds, while Haynes (odds of +1200 with many bookmakers) and Miller (odds of +1400 with SkyBet) are worth considering if you do not mind lowering your potential returns for added security. Adding Haynes and Miller to McCarthy and Scott reduces one’s odds to -185 . Sticking with the latter two makes more sense.
McCarthy or Scott to win Best Director
Odds: -103 Dutched
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