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The odds for Oscars (from the options markets)

February 22, 2007

Our newspaper has a “for entertainment purposes only” Oscars-picking contest for this weekend’s Academy Awards. So where am I going for advice for my picks?

Oscars statueThe options markets, of course! Use the power of the computer Internet! (that’s a Dr. Tiki reference…I’m a big fan)

First, here’s the latest from the Hollywood Stock Exchange. These are the current valuations on AwardOption shares. The closer they are to the payoff price, the more likely the movie is to win (prices are in fake Hollywood dollars, or H$ … I currently have H$70.7M in my portfolio on the site).

  • For Best Picture (H$25 for winning shares):
    The Departed: H$14.10
    Little Miss Sunshine: H$7.86
    The rest of the field (The Queen, Letters from Iwo Jima, Babel): All less than H$2.86
    (I’d really like to see ‘Sunshine’ win, but it’s not likely…)
  • For Best Director (H$25 for win)
    Martin Scorsese, The Departed: H$18.52
    The rest of the field: H$2.01 or under

More after the jump…

  • For Best Actor (H$25 for win)
    Forrest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland: H$19.17
    Peter O’Toole, Venus: H$3.31
    Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness: H$2.79
    The rest of the field: H$2.01 or less
  • For Best Actress (H$25 for win)
    Helen Mirren, The Queen: H$19.31
    Kate Winslett, Little Children: H$2.53
    The rest of the field: H$1.62 or less
  • For Best Supporting Actor (H$25 for win)
    Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls: H$12.61
    Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine: H$8.38
    The rest of the field: H$2.27 or less
  • For Best Supporting Actress (H$25 for win)
    Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls: H$17.35
    Rinko Kikuchi, Babel: H$3.05
    The rest of the field: H$2.57 or less

Also, let’s take a look at TradeSports (now called InTrade), which has an options market for awards, as well as politics and other world events. Oh yeah, and sports too.

In my experience, this market is very accurate because people actually have real money on these options.

For these, the options are percentages of likelyhood (closer to 100 is most-likely to happen). Holders of winning options get $10 per share:

  • For Best Picture:
    The Departed: 45.2
    Little Miss Sunshine: 22.4
    Babel: 22.1
    The rest of the field (The Queen, Letters from Iwo Jima): All less than 6
    (I’d really like to see ‘Sunshine’ win, but it’s not likely…)
  • For Best Director
    Martin Scorsese, The Departed: 85.5
    The rest of the field: 6.7 or under

  • For Best Actor
    Forrest Whitaker, Last King of Scotland: 83.0
    Peter O’Toole, Venus: 11.0
    The rest of the field: 4.0 or less
  • For Best Actress
    Helen Mirren, The Queen: 91.7
    Meryl Streep, The Devil Wears Prada: 3.0
    The rest of the field: 1.0 or less
  • For Best Supporting Actor
    Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls: 61.0
    Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine: 27.0
    The rest of the field: 4.9 or less
  • For Best Supporting Actress
    Jennifer Hudson, Dreamgirls: 77.0
    Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine: 11.0
    The rest of the field: 3.8 or less

So there you go! Here’s my picks for my ballot for the office contest:

  • Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy
  • Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson
  • Best Actor: Forrest Whitaker
  • Best Actress: Helen Mirren
  • Best Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Best Film: The Departed

Also, just for your information, here’s the top predictions for other Oscars categories in case you need them:

  • Best Documentary: Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is favored by InTrade with a 93.0 total (93 percent likelihood)
  • Best Animated: “Cars” with H$13.31 out of H$15 at HSX.com
  • Best Original Screenplay: “Little Miss Sunshine” with H$14.36 out of H$25 (others are less than H$3.00)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: “The Departed” with H$13.37 out of H$25 (others at H$4.48 or less)
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3 Comments
  1. February 22, 2007 11:05 am

    See I don’t think that this is 100% true. Although I do think that The Departed is going to win for best picture I think that the amount of money can work against them. I must say you do have some of the similar picks as I do check out how to do some voting at http://www.gotuit.com

  2. February 22, 2007 11:13 am

    Well, the real-money market InTrade has the movie race a lot closer than HSX. I want Little Miss Sunshine to take the upset for Best Picture, but I think the Scorsese bandwagon is too big this year.

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