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November 27, 2014

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Oddsmakers put bets on ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Nominations for the Academy Awards were announced today, and Las Vegas oddsmakers are already hedging their bets.

John Avello, director of the sports book at Wynn Las Vegas, named "Slumdog Millionaire" as his pick to win an Oscar for best picture, and its director, Danny Boyle, tops for best director. The picture has been nominated in 10 categories, coming in second to "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which was nominated for 13.

Heath Ledger was nominated for best supporting actor for his role as the Joker in "The Dark Knight." He was found dead in his New York City apartment exactly one year ago.

Avello says Ledger is his 6-5 pick to win it. "The Dark Knight" was shut out in other top categories, getting no nods for best picture or director.

Ledger, who died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs at the age of 28, was nominated along with Josh Brolin ("Milk"), Robert Downey Jr. ("Tropic Thunder"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt") and Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road").

Mickey Rourke and Kate Winslet are his favorites for best actor and actress.

Winslett was nominated for her role as Hanna Schmitz in "The Reader." Her odds of winning are 8-5, the oddsmaker said, while Rourke, nominated for his role in "The Wrestler," has a 2-1 shot.

"Playing Hanna Schmitz will always remain one of the biggest challenges I've ever been blessed with," she told the Associated Press. Winslet won two Golden Globes for her roles in "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road," but received no Oscar nominations for "Revolutionary Road."

The romantic fantasy "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" led Academy Awards contenders. Other best-picture nominees are "Frost/Nixon," "Milk" and "The Reader."

Not all Las Vegas oddsmakers list Oscar favorites, and none take actual bets on the outcome.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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