You want to bet that "The Verdict" wins the Academy Awards?
Well, you can't.
Handicappers in Las Vegas have announced the odds on the top Oscars this year. Paul Newman is even money to win his first statuette for best actor in the film, narrowly favored as the best of 1983.
But then Ben Kingsley is 6-5 for "Gandhi," Dustin Hoffman is 9-5 for cross-dressing in "Tootsie," and you can take a flier on Peter O'Toole ("My Favorite Year") at 3-1, Jack Lemmon ("Missing") at 9-1, Sylvester Stallone ("Rocky III") at 15-1 and Richard Gere for "An Officer and a Gentleman" a sporty 20-1.
It's tighter in the women's division: Meryl Streep ("Sophie's Choice") and Jessica Lange, who scored both in "Frances" and "Tootsie," are tied for best actress, followed by Debra Winger ("Officer") at 3-1, Sissy Spacek ("Missing") 5-1 and Julie Andrews in another crossdresser, "Victor Victoria," at 14-1.
This is all very nice, but no one is actually putting money on it. The problem is Nevada laws, which, surprisingly enough, turn out to be very strict on the point.
"I put out odds on who shot J.R. in 'Dallas' a couple years ago," says Sonny Reisner, oddsmaker for The Castaways Hotel in Las Vegas, "and we were taking bets on it--like Lloyds of London will accept bets on almost anything. But the State Gaming Board stopped it because it wasn't a sporting event. It's got to be a sporting event."
So it's all just for fun. The actual odds are the creation of Lenny Del Genio, oddsmaker for the Frontier Hotel, who says he and his staff worked them out by consulting various experts in the movie industry and by going to the pictures themselves. "We got a consensus on it," he says. "But it's only for information."
So here's the rest of the information: Best supporting actress: Teri Garr in "Tootsie," 4-1; Lainie Kazan for "My Favorite Year," 8-1. Best supporting actor: James Mason in "The Verdict," 4-5; Lou Gossett Jr. in "Officer," even money; Robert Preston in "Victor," 6-1; Henry Thomas for "E.T.," 7-1; Steve Guttenberg for "Diner," 10-1; and Michael Keaton for "Night Shift," 15-1.