Bookies Suffer As Favourites Win Oscars

David Archer profile photo

Author: David Archer

Published: 02:00 24/02/2013

Ben Affleck

The predictions of film industry pundits were largely proved right in last night’s 85th Academy Awards ceremony.  The shoo-in result was Daniel Day-Lewis who picked up a record-breaking third Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Day-Lewis was becomingly modest in his acceptance speech, saying “I really don’t know how any of this happened.  I do know I’ve received much more than my fair share of good fortune in my life”.

Jennifer Lawrence triumphed for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook, winning her first Oscar for Best Actress at the tender age of 22.  Earlier in the weekend bookmaker William Hill had offered odds of 8/13 that she would win over her rivals and, again, the bookmakers were proven right.  Also hotly tipped was Anne Hathaway for her supporting role as tragic Fantine in the musical Les Miserables.  The 30-year-old did indeed win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and was thrilled with her success, saying “It came true!” as she gripped her gold statuette.

The contest for Best Supporting Actor was less predictable, with incredible performances from Tommy Lee-Jones in Lincoln, Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained, Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.  In the end the Academy chose Christoph Waltz for this portrayal of a genteel but steely bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s tale of slavery and revenge, Django Unchained.  In his acceptance speech, Walz said that “I am in awe of the people who are or were or are in my category” and certainly this acting category was the hardest to call because of the immense shared quality of performances. Walz was second favourite to win, behind Tommy Lee-Jones, but the odds were very tight – 6/5 for Lee-Jones, 6/4 for Walz.

This was Walz’s second Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, having previously won for his 2009 performance of a gleefully evil Nazi in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds.  Tarantino won Best Original Screenplay for Django Unchained, compensation perhaps for the Academy’s failure to nominate him for Best Director.

Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, became only the fourth film to win Best Picture without a corresponding nomination for the Best Director category.  The First Lady, Michelle Obama, announced the award via video-link from the White House but few were surprised by the outcome with the film having already triumphed at the BAFTA’s and the Golden Globes.  Affleck, who won his first Oscar in 1998 for his screenplay for Good Will Hunting, written with Matt Damon, had suffered a long lull in his career before directing the film about the Iranian hostage crisis, and acknowledged this in his acceptance speech, saying “Doesn’t matter how you get knocked down in life; all that matters is you’ve got to get up”.

Although many film industry insiders believed that Affleck should have been on the nominations list for Best Director, few would deny that 58-year-old Ang Lee deserved his Best Director Oscar, for his adaptation of Yann Martell’s Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.  His film took four Oscars in total, making it the most successful overall (although in fairness all major favourites did win Oscars), and the entrancing fable about a boy stranded at sea with a wild Bengal tiger was directed with consummate confidence. 

However, the result did upset the bookmakers who had predicted a win for Steven Spielberg.  The Lincoln director, as short as odds of 1/4 from bookmaker BoyleSports had to suffer disappointment once again as Lee, second placed at 7/2 from the same bookmaker, won through as he did in 2006 when his direction of Brokeback Mountain bested Spielberg direction of Munich.

Life of Pi also picked up statuettes for Visual Effects, Cinematography, and Original Score.

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