Bridges, Bullock tabbed as early Oscar favorites

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[February 03, 2010]  LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Jeff Bridges and Sandra Bullock are early favorites to win Oscars in the top acting categories at the Academy Awards, oddsmakers said Tuesday.

Insurance"Avatar" is considered the favorite among 10 nominees for best picture.

John Avello, executive director of the race and sports book at the Wynn Las Vegas casino, tabbed Bridges as a 2-3 favorite to win best actor for his role in "Crazy Heart."

Avello has Bullock at even-money for best actress for "The Blind Side" but said he was surprised the football drama was nominated for best picture.

"I was blindsided by 'Blind Side,' and I'm up in the air about the others," he said.

Benjamin Eckstein, president of syndicated newspaper odds column America's Line, listed "Avatar" as a 1-2 favorite for best picture with "The Hurt Locker" an even money contender.

The 1-2 odds for "Avatar" mean that a bettor would hypothetically need to gamble $2 to win $1. But the odds are just for fun, because Nevada casinos don't take wagers on contests where the outcome is known beforehand.

The awards are voted on by active members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and tabulated by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Ladbrokes, a British company that accepts bets online, lists Mo'Nique of "Precious: Based on the Novel `Push' By Sapphire" and Christoph Waltz of "Inglourious Basterds" as heavy 1-8 favorites to win for their supporting roles.

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Eckstein, who listed Waltz and Mo'Nique as an even heavier favorites than Ladbrokes, said the nominees are overwhelmingly ahead of their competition.

"There are just certain years where it's so overwhelming you just put it on their seat," Eckstein said. "There's no contest, just give the Oscar out."

Eckstein said he thought races would be closer for best actress -- where past Oscar winner Meryl Streep is nominated as chef Julia Child in "Julie & Julia" -- and best picture.

Bookmakers picked Kathryn Bigelow as the favorite to win the best director Oscar for "The Hurt Locker."


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[Associated Press; By OSKAR GARCIA]

Associated Press writer Ken Ritter contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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