Betting on Oscars Heats Up as Academy Awards Near

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Betting on Oscars Heats Up

The wait is almost over, the build-up starting in earnest this month as Oscar season officially gets underway.

The 93rd Academy Awards are finally just around the corner, set to get underway on April 25, 2021, after the awards ceremonies were pushed back in the calendar due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

There are still a few weeks to go before the film industry’s glitterati take to the red carpet for the 2021 Oscars, but those mere mortals that are interested in betting on the top showbiz awards extravaganza need not wait any longer. Betting is already open with odds markets in full swing at a slew of online betting shops.

Following the release of the list of nominees last month, odds markets popped up at multiple notable betting site, offering a comprehensive selection of futures (odds on all the nominees, from top to least favoured, in their respective categories) as well as a slew of fun prop bets that cover all manner of Oscar-related stuff. Everything from the length of acceptance speeches, to the number of Oscars any particular multiple-nominee will win, the number of bleeps in any given acceptance speech and more.

Eight films were nominated for Best Picture – the Academy’s pièce de resistance prize. “Nomandland”, “Minari”, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, “Promising Young Woman”, “Judas and the Black Messiah”, “Mank”, “Sound of Metal”, and “The Father.” 

Overall, “Mank” leads the Oscars with a whopping 10 nominations but “Nomadland” arguably is the film to spot. It emerges as the prohibitive fave to win in the best picture category, a market outlook that is underscored by its recent win for the Best-Picture Drama at the Golden Globes.

Similarly, the film’s director, Chloe Zhao, emerges as the runaway fave to win an Oscar for best director after claiming the same prize at the Golden Globes. Zhao made history this year by becoming one of two women nominated at the same time for best director at the Oscars – the other is Emerald Fennell, who receives a nod for her well-received debut film, “The Promising Young Woman.”

The best actor category is led by Chadwick Boseman, who is being nominated posthumously for his performance in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The late actor was awarded the Golden Globe for best actor last month, and, by all accounts, he’s the best bet by a country mile to sweep the awards ceremony with an Oscar triumph in several weeks’ time. Boseman sadly lost his battle with cancer in August of 2020.

Nomadland’s star Francis McDormand receives an Oscar nod for her performance in the critically acclaimed film but the established Hollywood star doesn’t lead the race for the coveted Oscar. According to oddsmakers, McDormand is the second-best bet, along with Golden Globe best actress winner, Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday), while Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) is being tipped as the firm fave to win the Oscar in this category.


That said, the best actress category is wide open and features the most diverse group of actresses in recent memory, including four-time Oscar nominated Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman). Davis made history this year with her fourth Oscar nomination and second-best actress nomination, as well with Day joining her on the shortlist, it marks only the second time that two black female actresses are nominated in the same category in the same year.

Britain’s Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah) is coming off a Golden Globe win for best supporting actor, a triumph that underpins his favourable odds to win an Oscar in the corresponding category. That said, winning a Golden Globe isn’t in of itself a guarantee of Oscars success. Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) could give Kaluuya a run for his money in the betting, along with Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami), Paul Race (Sound of Metal) and LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah).

Finally, Youn Yuh-jung (Minari), is tipped as the slight fave over Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Movie Film) to win best supporting actress. However, with Glen Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Amanda Seyfried (Mank) and Olivia Coleman (The Father) in the mix as well, it’s anybody’s guess where the Oscar ultimately goes.