December 14, 2001 

Longtime oddsmaker Art Manteris has some safe bets for you.

Manteris, vice president of race and sports book operations at Station Casinos, has issued his best bets for the Academy Awards.

He sees “Vanilla Sky” winning best picture, Will Smith getting best actor for “Ali” and Nicole Kidman as a favorite for either her performance in “Moulin Rouge!” or “The Others.” Don’t worry about losing any money; betting on nonsports events is not allowed in Nevada. “The people I talked to were much in agreement that these were going to be the top pictures and performances,” said Manteris. “So many people are interested, we thought, `Why not do it?’ ”

His odds are based on input from a number of sources.

“I have some friends in the business and contacts with pretty good opinions. I do this the same way as odds to win the Super Bowl: inside expert opinion, public perception and media analysis.”

He lists “Vanilla Sky” at 6-1, with “Moulin Rouge!” at 8-1 and “The Shipping News” at 10-1.

Smith is the 5-1 best actor favorite for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in “Ali.” Kevin Spacey is next at 7-1 in “The Shipping News” and Tom Cruise is 8-1 for his role in “Vanilla Sky.”

Kidman is 5-2 for best actress. Sissy Spacek in “In the Bedroom” is 6-1 and Judi Dench is a 10-1 choice for “Iris.”

Ron Howard has the nod as best director (“A Beautiful Mind”) at 4-1 over Cameron Crowe, 5-1, for “Vanilla Sky.”

Manteris likes Jim Broadbent as best supporting actor for “Iris” and Dench for best supporting actress for “The Shipping News.” But Manteris offers no odds on the latter two categories.

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