The 88th Academy Awards finally arrive this Sunday and, for the most part, everyone seems to think they know how the awards are going to be handed out. Of course, there are always surprises, especially when you’re dealing with the mercurial Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Old favorites often trump newcomers and issues way beyond what happens on the screen influence the way votes are cast.

That’s what makes trying to guess the winners so enjoyable. As obvious as it might seem, there’s almost always a curveball or two. In trying to figure out where they might show up this year, we took a look at the odds being given by Wynn Las Vegas (because Vegas always knows) as well as the prognosticators at Gold Derby (who are very good at these things). We see who they’ve got favored to win all of the major categories and then see where we can find cracks in the favorites’ armor.

Category: Best Picture
Nominees: The Big Short; Bridge of Spies; Brooklyn; Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; The Revenant; Room; Spotlight
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: The Revenant (Even)
Gold Derby Favorite: The Revenant (8/11)
Should You Take The Bet?: It seems to be a foregone conclusion that The Revenant is going to walk out with the Best Picture award (as well as a few others). It’s probably the most “Oscars-y” movie of the bunch, featuring beautiful cinematography, strong acting, great direction and big scope. There isn’t another movie among the nominees that screams out to be considered above it.


Category: Best Actress
Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Carol; Brie Larson, Room; Jennifer Lawrence, Joy; Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years; Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Brie Larson (1/9)
Gold Derby Favorite: Brie Larson (1/10)
Should You Take The Bet?: It would be pretty shocking for anyone other than Larson to take home the trophy. The actress that will probably be a household name by this time next year was a revelation in The Room and her performance stood out even against stalwarts like Cate Blanchett and Charlotte Rampling.


Category: Best Actor
Nominees: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo; Matt Damon, The Martian; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant; Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs; Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Leonardo DiCaprio (1/20)
Gold Derby Favorite: Leonardo DiCaprio (1/10)
Should You Take The Bet?: Probably the strongest lock of the night. The Oscars live for moments like this, being able to finally give DiCaprio an Oscar after so many tries. Was his the single-best performance by a male actor in 2015? That’s up for debate, but this isn’t about that. This is an annointment.


Category: Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight; Rooney Mara, Carol; Rachel McAdams, Spotlight; Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl; Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Alicia Vikander (Even)
Gold Derby Favorite: Alicia Vikander (1/5)
Should You Take The Bet?: While Wynn has Vikander as a strong favorite, they also keep Kate Winslet and Rooney Mara close by. You always have to wonder about name recognition when it comes to Academy voters and since The Danish Girl didn’t exactly set box offices on fire, there’s an outside chance they could throw old friend Kate Winslet the nod instead. But probably not.

Category: Best Supporting Actor
Nominees: Christian Bale, The Big Short; Tom Hardy, The Revenant; Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight; Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies; Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Sylvester Stallone (1/2)
Gold Derby Favorite: Sylvester Stallone (1/4)
Should You Take The Bet?: If there’s any place where you might want to consider an upset pick, this is it. Sly is the sentimental favorite here and he’s Old Hollywood (at least by current standards) so he’s certainly the smart pick. But what if the idea of giving an Oscar to Rambo doesn’t quite jive with some voters? Then Mark Rylance could totaly sneak in there and ride a wave of credibility to the award.


Category: Best Director
Nominees:Lenny Abrahamson, Room; Adam McKay, The Big Short; Tom McCarthy, Spotlight; Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant; George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Alejandro González Iñárritu (1/3)
Gold Derby Favorite: Alejandro González Iñárritu (1/4)
Should You Take The Bet?: Just like The Revenant is almost a lock, so is Iñárritu. He’s an Academy favorite (Babel, Birdman) and his work here is so visually-impressive that it’d be silly not to give it to him, much as we all might want George Miller to win for Mad Max: Fury Road.


Category: Best Original Screenplay
Nominees: Bridge of Spies; Ex Machina; Inside Out; Spotlight; Straight Outta Compton
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Spotlight (1/4)
Gold Derby Favorite: Spotlight (1/10)
Should You Take The Bet?: Spotlight was made to win this at the Academy Awards. It’s not flashy enough to ever win Best Picture but the script is so solid, so deft, and so quietly-powerful that there’s no way Inside Out or Straight Outta Compton stand a chance.


Category: Best Adapted Screenplay
Nominees:  The Big Short; Brooklyn; Carol; The Martian; Room
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: The Big Short (1/3)
Gold Derby Favorite: The Big Short (1/10)
Should You Take The Bet?: Another script that seemed destined to be honored here rather than in the other major categories. It feels insidery, which the Academy likes, and it’s also an acting display for some of the biggest names in the industry. That it can be hilarious and also seeringly-painful drives the win home. This is a strong field though, so if you wanted to pick Room for the upset, we wouldn’t blame you.


Category: Best Song
Nominees:  “Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey; “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction; “Simple Song #3,” Youth; “Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground; “Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Til It Happens To You, The Hunting Grounds (5/9)
Gold Derby Favorite: Til It Happens To You, The Hunting Grounds (1/4)
Should You Take The Bet?: You might be inclined to pick Spectre’s “Writing’s On The Wall” but note that only one Bond song has ever won an Academy Award (“Skyfall”) and that had Adele singing. It’s certainly not going to be a song from Fifty Shades of Grey, so this one feels like a solid pick.


Category: Best Animated Feature
Nominees: Anomalisa; Boy and the World; Inside Out; Shaun the Sheep Movie; When Marnie Was There
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Inside Out (1/10)
Gold Derby Favorite: Inside Out (1/10)
Should You Take The Bet?: Traditionally, the Academy will award the best film from Disney or another major studio here, even if there’s a better-made movie from a smaller studio or foreign studio available. That may or may not be the case here, depending on how you feel about Anomalisa, but they’re going to pick Inside Out regardless.


Category: Best Documentary Feature
Nominees: Amy; Cartel Land; The Look of Silence; What Happened, Miss Simone?; Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom
Wynn Las Vegas Favorite: Amy (1/2)
Gold Derby Favorite: Amy (2/11)
Should You Take The Bet?: If you’re looking for an upset pick, this could be a good spot. While Amy is clearly the favorite given its subject, the Academy may feel as though a make-good is in order for passing over The Act of Killing a few years back for a documentary about background singers. The Look of Silence is a companion documentary to that and might receive a special do-over bump.

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to