CATEGORIES Awards, Cinematical
The Social Network
Since the beginning of awards season, yours truly has been tracking the rankings of all the films, performances and pertinent categories. My estimates have been based on hunches, the subsequent and nonstop feedback from critics and guilds, and, most importantly, the statistics. The numbers don't lie, as they say, and that's as true of movie awards as it is of hockey playoffs. And if you want to doubt the veracity of numbers, try joining the gambling movie freaks in Vegas on Oscar night. You won't be able to place a bet there, but the oddsmakers are already making their picks online.

Over at Bookmaker, the favorites are ... simple. For example, Colin Firth is the most heavily favored of the bunch, with odds of (-2,500), an increase from his opening line of (-2,000). Which means if you wanted to win $100 on Oscar night, no problem. Just plunk down $2,500 on Mr. Firth for Best Actor and you should be virtually guaranteed to walk away with a cool hundred. A hefty investment for such a small chunk of change in comparison, but if there is any "bet the house" kind of play this night, Mr. Firth is it.

On the flip side, if you want to be a bit adventurous, like the kind who might throw a sawbuck on the Pittsburgh Pirates to win the World Series as a goof, there's always one of the Best Picture underdogs like 'The Kids Are All Right,' 'Winter's Bone,' '127 Hours,' 'Toy Story 3' and 'Inception.' For a mere hunch play of $100, if one of those should come through, you could walk away with four grand. Isn't gambling fun?

It might be a little too late for one of the smart bets. Before Tom Hooper won the Director's Guild award, he was listed at a bulky (+600) compared to David Fincher's (-1,600). You can still get those odds on Fincher, who is not entirely out of the running, despite history's numbers going against him. But if you want to jump ship to Hooper, it would now take an investment of $12,000 to make the same amount you could have landed with only $100 just a few weeks ago.


Other line movements include 'The King's Speech' leap-frogging 'The Social Network' for Best Picture from (-300) to (-450), and the action on 'Black Swan' knocks it down from 40-1 to 25-1. Lead Actor and Actress have remained pretty stable, but the supporting categories have been moving quite a bit. Fear of 'Speech' has moved Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter slightly closer to their category frontrunners, both jumping from 5-1 to 3-1. Christian Bale is still heavily favored at (-1,300), a wager that'd cost you quite a bit more than it would have in January.


Bale's movie mom, Melissa Leo, has jumped from (-300) to (-550), but in a category that has seen Marcia Gay Harden beat both gals from 'Almost Famous' and Juliette Binoche snatch Lauren Bacall's lifetime entitlement away, bettors are not counting out Hailee Steinfeld to pull off the upset. Dropping from about 5-2 to 2-1, she's not the worst bet in the world, if you're OK with playing the favorites.
Without further ado, here are this week's Oscar rankings in the Big Six. According to Bookmaker:

BEST PICTURE
1. 'The King's Speech' (-450)
3. 'The Fighter' (+2,500)
3. 'True Grit' (+2,500)
3. 'Black Swan' (+2,500)
6. 'Inception' (+4,000)
6. 'Toy Story 3' (+4,000)
6. '127 Hours' (+4,000)
6. 'Winter's Bone' (+4,000)
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Tom Hooper ('The King's Speech') (-2,000)
2. David Fincher ('The Social Network') (-1,600)
3. Darren Aronofsky ('Black Swan') (+1,500)
4. Joel & Ethan Coen ('True Grit' ) (+1,500)
5. David O. Russell ('The Fighter') (+2,200)
BEST ACTOR
1. Colin Firth ('The King's Speech') (-2,500)
2. James Franco ('127 Hours') (+900)
3. Jesse Eisenberg ('The Social Network') (+1,000)
4. Jeff Bridges ('True Grit') (+2,000)
5. Javier Bardem ('Biutiful') (+2,500)
BEST ACTRESS
1. Natalie Portman ('Black Swan') (-1,225)
2. Annette Bening ('The Kids Are All Right') (+400)
3. Jennifer Lawrence ('Winter's Bone') (+1,300)
4. Nicole Kidman ('Rabbit Hole') (+2,500)
5. Michelle Williams ('Blue Valentine') (+3,500)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Christian Bale ('The Fighter') (-1,300)
2. Geoffrey Rush ('The King's Speech') (+300)
3. Jeremy Renner ('The Town') (+2,200)
3. John Hawkes ('Winter's Bone') (+2,200)
3. Mark Ruffalo ('The Kids Are All Right') (+2,200)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Melissa Leo ('The Fighter') (-550)
2. Hailee Steinfeld ('True Grit') (+200)
3. Helena Bonham Carter ('The King's Speech') (+300)
4. Amy Adams ('The Fighter') (+1,200)
5. Jacki Weaver ('Animal Kingdom') (+1,500)