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The Next Round Of Oscar Contenders


Earlier this month, Indie Wire helped to kick off the discussions about the next round of Oscar contenders with an article about the films and studios that are likely to generate the most attention. The early Oscar predictions therein contained a number of titles, categorized according to how likely they are to win awards, whether or not they’ve come out yet, and a few other considerations. But really, there were too many films mentioned for the article to truly stand as any sort of prediction model. It’s a great spattering of titles we’ll view as some of the best of the year, but not a true look at the likely award winners.

Really, such a look is difficult at this stage because the majority of serious award contenders usually aren’t released until the autumn and winter. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some industry buzz already about which films could be the heavy hitters. And with that buzz and general expectation taken into account, Betfair’s site has already posted official betting odds for some of the major award categories. At this stage, these are by no means expected to be entirely accurate, but they do paint a picture of the overall field of contenders we can expect. So here’s a look at the 10 films with the top odds for Best Picture, and a little bit about each one.

The Likeliest Contenders

The Revenant

‘The Revenant’ is looking like one of the true giants of 2015. An 1800s frontier story of vengeance based on the novel of the same name by Michael Punke, the film will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. It was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who helmed 2014 masterpiece ‘Birdman.’


This story of a same-sex romance in ’50s New York was originally a novel by Patricia Highsmith. It will be brought to life by Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett, and it will carry the advantage of being particularly timely given the advances in same-sex relationship equality we’ve seen in 2015.

Steve Jobs

2013’s ‘Jobs’ wasn’t horrible, and Ashton Kutcher was a surprisingly accurate Steve Jobs, at least visually. But the film was rushed out in the wake of Jobs’ death, and this year’s ‘Steve Jobs’ is being viewed as the version that will truly have taken the time to become something special. Michael Fassbender will take up the title role, while Aaron Sorkin wrote the script for director Danny Boyle.

The Middleweights


Colm Toibin’s acclaimed 2009 novel was adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby. It will star up-and-comer Saoirse Ronan as Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman in the 1950s who’s caught between life at home and opportunities abroad in the U.S.—and a love interest in both places.

The Danish Girl

Yet another film based on a novel (in this case, a 2000 book by David Ebershoff), this one has “Oscar heavyweight” written all over it. Tom Hooper directed, budding star Alicia Vikander will take one of the main roles, and reigning Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne will take a turn as the inspirational transgender figure Lili Elbe.

BridgeofSpies_1Bridge Of Spies

The Coen brothers wrote it, Steven Spielberg directed, and Tom Hanks is the star in this Cold War drama about the efforts of a U.S. lawyer to free a detained American. That’s an outline of a powerhouse film if ever there was one.


This is a film about some of the earliest days of organized feminism in the U.S., starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan.

The Potential Darlings

The Hateful Eight

Sure to be one of the more popular films of the latter half of 2015, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is Quentin Tarantino’s first film since the wildly successful ‘Django Unchained.’ It will be set in the same general world, despite not being directly connected to the story material. A stacked cast is headlined by Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.


David O. Russell directed this family drama, which will star Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Robert DeNiro. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s the whole crew that was behind the surprise 2012 hit ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ which won Lawrence the Oscar for Best Actress.

By The Sea

‘By The Sea’ was directed by Angelina Jolie and will mark the first occasion where she and husband Brad Pitt have starred together since their marriage. They’ll play a couple in 1970s France.

Again, it’s difficult to predict these things before the films are actually released, but it’s probably a safe bet to expect at least a handful of these titles to be among the ones vying for Best Picture come the 2016 Oscars.

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