Oscars oddsmaker discusses favorites

(REUTERS) Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the world's biggest celebrities, will finally take home the best actor Oscar on Sunday (Feb 28), according to Las Vegas oddsmaker Ben Eckstein.

Eckstein, who has a nationally syndicated odds column and publishes betting odds on his website AmericasLine.com, has DiCaprio at 1:50 for his role as a fur trapper bent on revenge in The Revenant, meaning a US$50 bet would win back only one dollar.

The best picture race, though, is tighter, with Alejandro Inarritu's dark drama competing against Tom McCarthy's journalism tale Spotlight, with financial farce The Big Short in third place.

Eckstein compiles his odds by looking at a film or actor's performance across the awards season, and gets tips from movie industry insiders.

He sees Sylvester Stallone, who has picked up a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice award for reprising his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed, as a front runner for the supporting actor Oscar.

British actor Mark Rylance, though, tightened the race when he was named best supporting actor at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) awards for his Soviet spy role in Bridge Of Spies.

For best supporting actress, Eckstein favors Sweden's Alicia Vikander for her role playing the wife of transgender artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl.

Close behind are Rooney Mara, who plays a shop assistant who has an affair with a married woman in 1950s New York in Carol, and Kate Winslet for her portrayal in Steve Jobs of the late Apple co-founder's colleague Joanna Hoffman.

But while Las Vegas loves to gamble and Eckstein offers odds on everything from sports to TV reality shows, it's illegal to bet on the outcome of the Oscars in Nevada.

The Oscars will be handed out in Hollywood on Feb 28 in a star-studded television show which is one of the most-watched TV programmes in the United States.