Quentin Tarantino has produced some of the film industry’s most remarkable movies, and according to the bookmakers, he’s prominent in the betting to land his third Oscar with his latest project.
The 92nd Academy Awards are still just under a year away, but Paddy Power has already opened a book on the 2020 Best Picture candidates and Tarantino’s One Upon A Time In Hollywood is rated by the bookie as the 7/1 fourth favourite, behind market leader The Irishman.
Tarantino has been a controversial figure throughout his career, but that hasn’t stopped him from winning two Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay for Pulp Fiction (1994) and Django Unchained (2012). The latter provoked a degree of criticism over its racially-charged language, but by giving him an Oscar for the screenplay, the Academy sent a signal that controversy was not a bar to earning the top award in the film industry, which is just as well, given the subject of his latest work.
Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is set in 1969 Los Angeles, and is based around the story of the infamous Charles Manson murders, which left five people – including actress and model Sharon Tate, the wife of director Roman Polanski – dead and led to five death sentences for the participants, though those were later changed to life imprisonment when California abolished the death penalty.
And if there was an Oscar for Most Impressive Cast, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood would surely be the odds-on favourite. Leonardo di Caprio, who won Best Actor in 2016 for his role in The Revenant, and who had a starring role in Django Unchained, works with Tarantino again, this time in the lead role as a television actor attempting to make the switch to movies. He is joined by Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Lena Dunham, Margot Robbie, who plays the role of Sharon Tate, and Damian Lewis, who stars as movie legend Steve McQueen. The movie will also be notable for including the final role of the late Luke Perry, who died of stroke complications on March 4 this year.
The opportunity to work with Quentin Tarantino has also attracted Kurt Russell, Bill Roth and Dakota Fanning to sign up for the film, while di Caprio is rumoured to have taken a pay cut to work on the project, which was officially announced back in July 2017. The film was also due to be distributed by Harvey Weinstein’s company, but in the wake of the allegations against Weinstein, Tarantino ended his relationship, and in November 2017, signed up with Sony.
Tarantino’s career has seen one or two mis-steps, but Once Upon A Time In Hollywood appears to have a lot in its favour from a Best Picture perspective, and many punters are likely to be tempted by odds of 7/1 given the movie’s impeccable connections, though there is sure to be some trepidation in Hollywood about how Tarantino will handle the sensitive subject matter.
The movie also faces some stiff competition from directors with strong Oscars pedigrees, including The Irishman; Martin Scorcese’s latest, which also stars Al Pacino and Robert de Niro. That’s the current 3/1 favourite with Paddy Power, while a couple of political thrillers: Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat and The Last Thing He Wanted, directed by Dee Rees, are both ahead of Tarantino’s movie in the betting, being available at 4/1 and 6/1 respectively.