LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- All bets are off at London-based betting company Ladbrokes Ltd., which has been so overwhelmed with wagers favoring musical "Chicago" to win an Oscar for best picture that it has closed the books.
Instead, what Ladbrokes has decided to do is take bets on how many Academy Awards the musical might win.
"We've never had such a concerted interest in one motion picture," Ladbrokes communications director Sean Boyce said in a statement.
The Academy Awards are the U.S. film industry's highest honors and will be given out in a gala ceremony in Hollywood this coming Sunday, March 23, and "Chicago" has become the front-runner of a pack of movies vying for Oscars.
Also competing for best motion picture are dramas, "The Hours," "The Pianist," epic "The Gangs of New York" and action thriller, "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers."
When Ladbrokes closed its books on the best movie race, "Chicago," a musical about the murderous ways of a struggling actress who skyrockets to fame, was a 4-7 favorite for winning best motion picture, meaning one would have to bet $7 to win $4.
Its director, Rob Marshall, was a 4-5 favorite for winning best director, but "Hours" actress Nicole Kidman edged by her rivals to become an even-money favorite to win best actress.
"Chicago" received a total 13 nominations, more than any other film.