‘Moneyball’ gets six Oscar nominations: Will it win any awards?

David Brown
Big League Stew

"Moneyball" the movie continues to surprise and excel. It received six Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, including four biggies: best picture, lead actor (Brad Pitt), supporting actor (Jonah Hill) and adapted screenplay. It was also nominated for film editing and sound mixing.

It's a shame that Bennett Miller wasn't nominated for directing, and the real snub was Wally Pfister missing for cinematography, yet it's still amazing that Hollywood even produced a nonfiction project about a baseball team that doesn't win the World Series. Not only has "Moneyball" been a box office hit, but it's also on the verge of being an Oscar winner in one or more categories. But what are its actual chances of winning?

The Bovada sports book in Las Vegas is taking bets on the elite categories and they give "Moneyball" 30-to-1 odds to win best picture. It could shock the world — as there isn't a crystal-clear frontrunner — but the only longer shot among the nine nominees is "Tree of Life" at 50-1. Pitt, at 10-to-1 for lead actor, is the third choice after George Clooney and Jean Dujardin. It seems like Clooney's moment.

Bovada is not taking bets on supporting actor or the writing categories, but that's where "Moneyball" has the best chance to win.

It's not considered a big surprise that Hill's performance as Peter Brand earned a nomination, but he'll be going up against the likes of Christoper Plummer, Nick Nolte, Kenneth Branaugh and Max Von Sydow. Plummer probably should be considered the favorite, but Hill is a strong dark horse.

Writers Steven Zaillian, Stan Chervin and Aaron Sorkin have been nominated a combined 16 times by different organizations for their screenplay, which was adapted from the Michael Lewis book. They have six wins so far. At the Oscars, "Moneyball's" adapted screenplay will be up against "The Descendants," "Hugo," "The Ides of March" and "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy." But "Moneyball" has outperformed them all so far, in nominations and wins. It should be no worse than 50-50 to win the Oscar. "The Descendants" will win if it doesn't.

Who knows how to handicap film editing and sound mixing? But there could not have been a better looking movie than "Moneyball," which took natural advantage of baseball's aesthetic beauty. That's why it should have a shot at some kind of visual award.

So, to review: Best picture: probably not. Lead actor: probably not. Supporting actor: possibly. Film editing: possibly. Sound mixing: no earthly clue. Adapted screenplay: most likely.

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