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Oscars betting tips: Oppenheimer fancied for top award

The 96th Academy Awards, more commonly known as the Oscars, will take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on 10th March, 2024.

The nominations for the best movies and performers of 2023 will be announced on January 23rd, but speculation is already well underway about who might be the recipients of the iconic awards this time.

Here we take an early look at the odds for the Academy Awards and make some suggestions about the likely destination of this year's prizes.

Phil Agius' tips

Oppenheimer to win Best Picture @ 4/6
Bradley Cooper to win Best Actor @ 11/8
Lily Gladstone to win Best Actress @ 5/4

Setting the scene…

2023 will be remembered as the year of 'Barbenheimer', when two huge but very different blockbusters in Barbie and Oppenheimer were both released on the same day, July 21st.

Movie moguls will no doubt be grateful for the spike in cinema-going that the buzz created and it may be borne out in awards season, but Oppenheimer - the bio-pic of J. Robert Oppenheimer - the American physicist known as the father of the atomic bomb, looks set to create more of a bang when it comes to winning prizes.

If one picture is going to sweep the board this year, Oppenheimer should be the one, but there is no shortage of top-quality opposition, with Maestro, Killers of the Flower Moon and Poor Things among the films with plausible contenders in multiple categories.

Oppenheimer to win Best Picture @ 4/6

Oppenheimer was not only one of the most anticipated movies of 2023, it also lived up to the hype. 

Rather than just telling the interesting, but hardly fun-filled story of the famous physicist's life, viewers are drawn into an epic tale including his rollercoaster of a private life and the way in which his reputation was first besmirched by his critics and then redeemed. 

At just over three hours long, it won't have been everyone's cup of tea, but it's a gripping tale from start to finish, played out by a star-studded cast led by Cillian Murphy in the title role, with excellent support from Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Kenneth Branagh.

Accessible and entertaining despite the serious and subject matter which would potentially be dull in hands other than director Christopher Nolan's, Oppenheimer is educational, absorbing and thrilling all at the same time.

As for its main rivals at this early stage, Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon didn't quite live up to its pre-release billing, as important as it is to know its tale of how the Osage County Native Americans were being murdered by those seeking to exploit their oil wealth in the 1920s.

It gains no points on Oppenheimer in terms of brevity, though, coming in even longer at three hours 26 minutes and it did begin to feel it towards the end.

Anatomy of a Fall and Past Lives are both well-executed smaller-budget movies, while Poor Things and The Holdovers are both prominent in the market ahead of their UK releases in January.

Phil Agius' Tip

Oppenheimer @ 4/6

Bradley Cooper to win Best Actor @ 11/8

Cillian Murphy would be a worthy winner of the Best Actor award for Oppenheimer and the Irish star of Peaky Blinders has already picked up a number of regional awards, as well as a wide range of nominations for the major prizes. 

However, at odds-on prices, there's not a lot of value there at this stage and preference is for Bradley Cooper to finally pick up the main acting award, having previously being nominated for Silver Linings Playbook, American Sniper and A Star Is Born.

Cooper put his heart and soul into his portrayal of American composer Leonard Bernstein, which has actually resulted in some critics suggesting he might not win the award because he clearly wants it so much.

Leonardo DiCaprio was solid in Killers of the Flower Moon, but it wasn't his most memorable role by any means and that movie may have better prospects of recognition in other categories. 

An interesting outsider to watch in this section is Jeffrey Wright for his performance in American Fiction, although he is taking on some giants of the industry in this category.

Phil Agius' Tip

Bradley Cooper @ 11/8

Lily Gladstone to win Best Actress @ 5/4

A film described as a science fantasy black comedy does not sound the most likely to produce a leading contender for the Academy Awards Best Actress winner, but that is the case with Emma Stone, who heads to market for her performance in Poor Things. 

Stone, who won the award the only time she has been nominated, for La La Land in 2017, has already won a handful of critics' awards for her portrayal of Bella Baxter, but she  faces some tough competition.

Lily Gladstone is set to become the first Native American actor to be nominated in this category and, while some might have expected her to have opted for the Best Supporting Actress category, it may just prove to be a smart move.

The enigmatic Gladstone holds the movie together as Mollie Burkhart in Killers of the Flower Moon in a memorable performance.

British actress Carey Mulligan is another top contender for her role as Leonard Bernstein's wife Felicia Montealegre in Maestro.

Meanwhile, the performance that may go unrecognised, but does not deserve to, is that of Sandra Huller in the mystery courtroom drama Anatomy of a Fall, in which she holds the viewer's attention throughout.

Phil Agius' Tip

Lily Gladstone @ 5/4

Phil Agius' tips

Oppenheimer to win Best Picture @ 4/6
Bradley Cooper to win Best Actor @ 11/8
Lily Gladstone to win Best Actress @ 5/4

This article was written by a partner sports writer via Spotlight Sports Group. All odds displayed on this page were correct at the time of writing and are subject to withdrawal or change at any time.

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