Now that betting on the Oscars is legal in New Jersey, bettors are getting in on the action — especially when it comes to main categories like Best Supporting Actor. Here’s a look at the nominees and who is coming out ahead as a likely winner.
|Sportsbook||Mahershala Ali (Green Book)||Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)||Sam Elliott (A Star is Born)||Adam Driver (BlackKklansman)||Sam Rockwell (Vice)|
Mahershala Ali (Green Book)
A previous winner in this category for his excellent performance in 2016’s Moonlight, Mahershala Ali is once again the Academy Award frontrunner for his turn in Green Book. In the biopic, directed by Peter Farrelly, Ali stars as Dr. Don Shirley, an African-American pianist who embarks on a concert tour in the deep South and forms a lasting friendship with his driver, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen).
After his breakout role in Moonlight, Ali has quickly become one of Hollywood’s greatest and most sought after actors. In 2018 alone, the actor turned in excellent work in Green Book, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – a lock for Best Animated Feature – and the third season of HBO’s True Detective series.
For his portrayal of Dr. Shirley, Ali has already won Best Supporting Actor from the Golden Globes, SAG awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards, which makes him practically guaranteed for a Best Supporting Actor trophy. While Green Book remains a controversial film in the eyes of the Academy, there’s no controversy about Ali’s talent. William Hill has him listed as a -500 favorite.
Key awards for Mahershala Ali
Golden Globes: Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild of America: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Sam Elliott (A Star Is Born)
The 74-year-old Sam Elliott is a Hollywood veteran with a career spanning 50 years. Known for his signature mustache and deep, resonant voice, Elliott has delivered memorable performances in movies like Mask (1985), Road House (1989), Tombstone (1993) and The Big Lebowski (1998).
In Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born, Elliott plays Bobby, the older half-brother and manager of Cooper’s Jackson Maine. For his incredible work, Elliott was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (his first Oscar nomination), a Screen Actors Guild Award, and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actor.
While Green Book’s Mahershala Ali feels like a lock for the Best Supporting Actor category, there’s a slight chance that Elliott could pull off a surprise win. He’s the only other actor in the category to win a major award during the season’s festivities, and this is his first-ever nomination. The Academy loves making history, so there’s a possibility that they reward Elliott for a career of memorable performances over Ali, who won this category at the 89th Academy Awards. Elliott is currently +1400 at most books.
Key awards for Sam Elliott
National Board of Review: Best Supporting Actor
Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me? is based on Lee Israel’s 2008 memoir of the same name. Best Actress nominee Melissa McCarthy stars as Israel and follows the author as she tries to revitalize her career by forging letters from deceased authors and playwrights. Richard E. Grant, known for Withnail and I (1987), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) and Logan (2017), co-stars as Jack Hock, a flamboyant drug dealer and affable grifter who joins Israel in her forgery scheme.
This is Grant’s first-ever nomination for an Academy Award, as well as his first nod for a Golden Globe and a British Academy Film Award. While he’s won several critics’ awards for his undeniably great performance, Grant hasn’t won any of the major Best Supporting Actor trophies yet. BetStars and FanDuel currently have the British actor as a +700 underdog.
Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman)
Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman follows Ron Stallworth, the first African-American detective (played by John David Washington) in the Colorado Springs Police Department, as he sets out to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Adam Driver (of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Inside Llewyn Davis) co-stars as Stallworth’s partner, Detective Philip “Flip” Zimmerman.
Like Elliott and Grant, the incredibly versatile Driver is a first-time Oscar nominee. In addition to his first career Oscar nomination, the 35-year-old former Marine also scored nods from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Unfortunately, Driver’s excellent work hasn’t earned a single key award this season, so he’s a longshot at +5000 on BetStarsNJ.
Sam Rockwell (Vice)
Sam Rockwell won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at last year’s Academy Awards, in addition to a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards, for his performance as a racist police deputy in the crime-drama Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. This year, the actor is attempting a repeat victory with his turn as George W. Bush in Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic, Vice.
While he has received nominations from the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the British Academy Film Awards, Rockwell hasn’t won a major award this season, which puts him at the bottom of the list with first-time nominees Driver and Grant. As such, he’s tied with Driver at +5000 on BetStarsNJ. Based on precursor awards, this is Ali’s race to lose. Elliott is the only contender worth taking a flyer on.