The 93rd Academy Awards are right around the corner and you may think that the broadcast is simply part of the Hollywood press machine (which, it kind of is), but it can offer audiences like us some unexpected entertainment.
Think Oscar predictions fall outside of the gambling purview? Think again. Sure, it may take some digging to find a sportsbook willing to offer lines or a friend who’s devised a pool on the major categories — Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, Best Director — but they’re out there and trust us, there’s money to be won.
Outside of betting on the broadcast, the Oscars offer an opportunity to celebrate some of our favorite films. The kind that touches on our culture and provides insight into a sub-genre we can all appreciate: yes, gambling.
So, even if you haven’t seen this year’s top pictures, like “Belfast,” “Licorice Pizza,” or “The Power of the Dog,” you can still use the Academy Awards as an excuse to throw on some of the best gambling movies that encapsulate the thrill of money-won. Here’s some of our favorites:
Written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman, the duo that have more recently brought us “Billions” and a soon-to-be-aired anthology series entitled “Super Pumped,” “Rounders” has become a cult classic for sports gambling fans. The debate as to whether poker is truly a “sport” remains up in the air, but what is undeniable is that “Rounders” has all the makings of an adrenaline-filled gambling high (and many of the lows).
Following a young law student with a true talent for poker, Mike McDermott — played by Matt Damon — has aspirations of becoming a legitimate poker star but manages to lose a whopping $30,000 in a single hand against the Russian mobster, Teddy KGB, a character that could only be portrayed on the screen by the always-eccentric John Malkovich. After the devastating loss, McDermott vows to quit poker altogether.
But when McDermott’s childhood friend “Worm” shows up at his door years later with debts and unkept promises, Mike has no choice but to re-enter the game to help a friend in need. Only this time, McDermott won’t be able to settle for honest winnings as Worm persuades him to go back to their old hustling routine from their early days. What follows is a whirlwind run of winning and dangerous encounters, leading McDermott back to the underground Texas Hold ’em game of Teddy KGB.
A cult classic for a reason, this gambling movie is one you’ll want to fire back up every few months before your next trip to the track or casino.
“The Color of Money” (1986)
Scorsese. Newman. Cruise. That should be enough to make any “best of” list, but if you’re unconvinced, “The Color of Money” is a continuation of the 1959 hit, “…….