Oscar commercial breaks used to be the perfect time to dis Geena Davis‘ dress. But now attention must be paid: After the Super Bowl, the awards show has become the place to debut high-profile ads. Advertisers are paying as much as $1.3 million for 30 seconds this year, up 30 percent from 1999. Here’s a list of our odds-on favorites (in case you need a backup office pool).
CHARLES SCHWAB Sally Field mocks her infamous ”You like me, you really like me” speech. Odds We really like it. On a night of bloated self-importance, Field’s tongue-in-cheek approach is a winner. 3-2
THE GAP A colorful homage to West Side Story (sans the trademark white background!). Odds With elaborate musical numbers banned from the Oscars this year, the Gap nicely fills the you-know-what. 2-1
BLOCKBUSTER Carly Simon‘s version of the Beatles’ ”Act Naturally” accompanies baby photos of former Oscar nominees, including Walter Matthau and Melanie Griffith. Odds Never achieves hoped-for schmaltziness; plus, Griffith hasn’t had a hit in years. 4-1
SUN MICROSYSTEMS A fake trailer about The Dot, an aliens-land-on-Earth movie. Odds Cool concept, though space invaders are so 1996. 3-1
PEPSI In separate ads, country crooner Faith Hill and metal gods Kiss team with cola cutie Hallie Eisenberg. Odds With the latter oddball pairing and a catchy jingle, these are tough to ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-beat. 2-1