Jeff Bridges among Oscar gamblers' picks


Those who are betting real cash on the Oscars have determined that "Crazy Heart's" Jeff Bridges is a lock for best actor, so much so that most online bookies will require you to risk $6 just to win $1.

But if there's an upset in that category, it will come from George Clooney for his portrayal of a frequent flyer in "Up in the Air," and gamblers can get much better odds on him, as much as 13-1.

Jeremy Renner for "The Hurt Locker" is the long shot at about 28-1.

Gambling on the Oscars has become a tradition for some, and participants can check out the odds from several different options at a single Web site: EasyOdds.com.

While checking in with folks who are putting up real money is a sound strategy for those seeking help with their office Oscar pools, it's not foolproof. After all, five years ago "The Aviator" was odds-on favorite for 2004's best picture among Oscar gamblers, but "Million Dollar Baby" took the statue.

This year's best-picture pick among gamblers is "Hurt Locker," but "Avatar" is so close among the odds-makers that it's probably more accurate to call it a tie.

The same can't quite be said for best director, where "Hurt Locker's" Kathryn Bigelow is favored over "Avatar's" James Cameron by a bigger margin -- comparatively speaking. One site has Cameron at 3-1, while you'd have to wager $5 to win $1 on Bigelow.

Sandra Bullock for "The Blind Side" is favored over Meryl Streep for "Julie & Julia," though it is almost as close as the race for best picture.

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Judging from where the money is flowing, the biggest surprises Sunday night would be if "Avatar" didn't win for best visual effects or if Christoph Waltz did not win a best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of a twisted Nazi in "Inglourious Basterds." One site requires a $40 bet on Waltz just to win $1.

Like director, picture and actress, both writing categories are also tight: In adapted screenplay "Up in the Air" is favored over "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire," and in best original screenplay it's "Basterds" over "Hurt Locker."

A couple of Web sites let you bet on which movie will earn the most Oscars. "Avatar" edges out "Hurt Locker," and you can get 4-1 odds if it's a tie.
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