There Will Be Bets: Gambling on Oscar

"The academy has a reputation for not liking bloody movies, but this year's two hottest contenders for best picture, 'No Country for Old Men' and 'There Will Be Blood,' are both pretty bloody. It is possible they might split, and the award will go to something small like 'Juno,'" he said.

"The academy also likes veteran actors, which bodes well for Hal Holbrook ['Into the Wild'] and Ruby Dee for her performance in 'American Gangster,'" he said.

The closest race, perhaps, is the one for best actress in a supporting role. All of the bookies picked Cate Blanchett to win for her role as a Bob Dylan-like character in "I'm Not There." Amy Ryan, for her role as the mother of a missing child in "Gone Baby Gone," is a close second.

Adding to the tension in that race is Dee, who took home the best supporting actress award at last week's Screen Actors' Guild Awards.

"It is a close two-way race between Cate Blanchett and Amy Ryan, but since Ruby Dee won the SAG award she has been receiving a lot of bets," said Klein.

Betting on the Oscars, like all entertainment-related gambling, remains a small industry compared to sports betting, said Eckstein of America's Line.

"There is a buzz around gambling on entertainment — the awards shows and reality programs," he said. "But betting on the Oscars is not soaring. All of the money bet on the Oscars this year could probably fit in a large roll in one fist. To hold the money gambled on the Super Bowl, you would need 17 dump trucks."

Part of the reason gambling on the Oscars remains small is the same reason casinos won't accept bets on it at all — some people already know who the winners are.

Unlike a sporting event, the winners of the Oscars are actually known before the event begins. The 5,808 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences send their ballots to be tabulated by the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, allowing for the possibility of a leak.

As a result, betting on and remains small. The maximum allowable bet on BodogLife is $50 and $250 at BetCris.

"There's always an upset," said bookmaker Klein. "It happens every year. That's what makes it interesting."

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