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While the eyes of the entertainment industry were solely focused on the Dolby Theatre stage during the Oscars telecast on Sunday night, a small portion of high-stakes gamblers were also nervously thinking about Las Vegas, and a red-hot rumor that had sports books sweating as the evening approached the Best Director category.
Sports Business Analyst Darren Rovell, writing for ActionNetwork.com, noted that the sports book FanDuel had to take the category of Best Director off of the board completely after the betting odds on The Favourite filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos plunged. At one point considered a longshot to take home the Academy Award in the category, Lanthimos’ odds went from 45-1 all the way down to 5-1 before the category officially was taken off of the board.
What could have happened to swing the odds in Yorgos Lanthimos’ favor at the last minute? Darren Rovell is crediting two vents, similarly themed by at different sources. According to his reporting, two rumors that surfaced on two different college campuses led to a wave of fresh bets in Lanthimos’ favor, alerting casinos that the fix might be in.
One source told Action Network that a fraternity kid on Penn State’s campus started telling people that his father, who had major Hollywood connections, was hearing that Yorgos Lanthimos was going to pull off the upset in the Best Director category. Yet another potential gambler told the site that the rumor started at the University of Richmond, but it’s the same concept. They had a family member who was “in the know” about how the Oscars would play out, so bet now and pay off big.
Naturally, it didn’t work. Alfonso Cuaron took home the Oscar for Best Director for this work on the brilliant Netflix movie, Roma, and Yorgos Lanthimos went home empty handed.
Now, it wasn’t Yorgos Lanthimos who won for Best Director, but The Favourite was part of another major upset, so maybe THAT is what the rumor was attached to? Olivia Colman prevailed in the Best Actress category for her turn as the Queen, upsetting both Lady Gaga and Glenn Close, both of whom were believed to be frontrunners are different times. Maybe those college kids heard “Colman” and thought it was “Yorgos”? There was money to be made last night, people. We blew it.
The Academy ended up giving Best Picture to Green Book, while Best Actor went to Rami Malek. With no clear cut frontrunner in most categories, the Oscars spread the love to a lot of different movies. What were your biggest surprises from the night? And did you lose money on a Yorgos Lanthimos bet, before the category came off of the table?