Oscars Odds: Final Predictions For More Than 20 Academy Awards Bets

Written By Alex Jacob on March 9, 2023 - Last Updated on March 10, 2023
oscars odds

The 95th Academy Awards are Sunday night, starting at 8 p.m. ET and airing on ABC in the United States. Apart from the top-two categories (and a few others), this year ranks among the most wide open and difficult to predict Oscar years in recent memory. The good news is, that means there are still plenty of Oscars odds betting opportunities for us. Here are my final predictions for the winners in all 23 categories, and my thoughts on some longshot plays that may be worth a look.

What better way to cap off Selection Sunday and the start of March Madness than to turn on the Academy Awards and place a couple bets. Check your sportsbook app, as many states have legalized wagering on the Academy Awards. Click on any of the odds below to place a bet now. One spot you can legally bet on Academy Awards odds is at DraftKings Sportsbook.

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TheLines special guest author Alex Jacob is one of the most decorated “Jeopardy!” players in history and a former ESPN U.S. poker champion. He’s a huge fan of the Oscars and follows the Hollywood awards circuit religiously to uncover value in the betting markets.

Editor’s Note

Best Picture

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bet now
-1400
The Banshees Of Inisherin
Bet now
+140
All Quiet On The Western Front
Bet now
+1100
Top Gun Maverick
Bet now
+1800
The Fabelmans
Bet now
+3000
Tar
Bet now
+5000
Avatar: The Way Of Water
Bet now
+10000
Elvis
Bet now
+6500
Women Talking
Bet now
+20000
Triangle Of Sadness
Bet now
+20000

Everything Everywhere All at Once

There’s probably not much value left in this category. “Everything Everywhere” is the heavy favorite after an impressive near-sweep of the industry guilds. It won the top prize with the directors (DGA), producers (PGA), writers (WGA), and actors (SAG). The only other four films to accomplish that feat, “American Beauty,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “Argo,” were all slam dunk Best Picture winners.

All Quiet On The Western Front

If you’re going to bet on “Everything Everywhere” stumbling at the finish line, I think this is the possible spoiler. Let’s not forget: “All Quiet” did win Best Film over “Everything Everywhere” with the British Academy (BAFTA), which has significant overlap with the group voting on the Oscars. Also, maybe owing to the late-season surge for “All Quiet,” the film was not nominated at any of the major guilds. Therefore, it hasn’t actually been beaten by “Everything Everywhere” yet. I’ve seen plenty of anecdotal evidence that there’s a contingent of voters who just don’t vibe with “Everything Everywhere.” If they can rally around “All Quiet” as the alternative, I do think it’s possible it could pull off an absolutely shocking upset. But I don’t think +1000 is a good enough price.

My final prediction: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

TheLines Podcast: Oscars Odds Special

Best Director

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
D. Kwan and D. Scheinert (EEAAO)
Bet now
-1200
S. Spielberg (The Fabelmans)
Bet now
+600
M. McDonagh (The Banshees Of Inisherin)
Bet now
+2200
T. Field (Tar)
Bet now
+2000
R. Ostlund (Triangle Of Sadness)
Bet now
+5000

Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

As I mentioned in my last update, this race was all but over after the Daniels’ big win with the DGA, a guild that has been incredibly accurate at foretelling the Oscar winner in this category. The overall strength of “Everything Everywhere” has only been further confirmed since then. We have a lot of tough categories to cover, and this isn’t one of them, so I won’t waste any more of your time.

My final prediction: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Best Actor

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Brendan Fraser (The Whale)
Bet now
-165
Austin Butler (Elvis)
Bet now
+120
Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Bet now
+1200
Paul Mescal (Aftersun)
Bet now
+5000
Bill Nighy (Living)
Bet now
+6500

Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

The next two categories are kind of like one of those choose-your-own-adventure books. With final Oscar predictions trickling in this week, I can safely report that a solid majority of pundits, both online and in major publications, are predicting Austin Butler and Michelle Yeoh to win the lead acting categories. So if you want to take their word for it, turn to page 57 and bet on Austin Butler and Michelle Yeoh. But if you like the arguments I’m about to make, turn to page 28 and bet on Brendan Fraser and Cate Blanchett. First things first, let’s talk about Brendan.

Last update I wrote that Brendan Fraser needed to win the SAG to stay alive in this race, but if he could do that, I’d like his chances going forward. Well, here we are: Fraser did indeed win the SAG, and had an opportunity to give another emotional acceptance speech right before the start of Oscar voting. We all know about Brendan Fraser’s comeback narrative. Yes, comeback narratives failed in recent years for Mickey Rourke, Sylvester Stallone, and Michael Keaton. I’d argue that Fraser has endeared more voters on the campaign trail with his openness and vulnerability. I also think he gets some extra credit for taking on such a difficult, unglamorous role. But even more importantly, Rourke, Stallone, and Keaton all failed to win at SAG, showing that Fraser is in a stronger position than they were. The actors’ branch is the largest branch of the Academy, so in retrospect it makes sense why those three guys lost at the Oscars without the support of the actors.

Fraser has only lost to Butler at the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs, which are both international voting bodies. When Americans are voting (Critics Choice, SAG, and many regional critics groups), Fraser has always prevailed. After Oscar voting closes, many outlets publish anonymous interviews with Oscar voters. We obviously don’t want to read too much into these, as they amount to such a small sample of votes, but one comment stood out to me. It was something to the effect of: “I voted for Colin Farrell, but I can tell you right now, Brendan Fraser is going to win.”

Austin Butler (“Elvis”)

The fact that Butler is playing Elvis Presley is a big advantage, as Oscar voters love to reward actors for playing real people, especially in musical biopics (just ask Rami Malek, Renee Zellweger, Jamie Foxx, and Reese Witherspoon). Secondly, “Elvis” is a Best Picture nominee, which is not only an indication that more people like the movie compared to “The Whale,” but that more people have taken the time to watch it. Also, at the BAFTAs Austin Butler defeated not only Brendan Fraser but Colin Farrell, who was perceived to have something of a homefield advantage. And though the SAG is a slightly better predictor of the Oscar winner historically, the BAFTAs have correctly called some close acting races recently, such as Anthony Hopkins over Chadwick Boseman, Frances McDormand over Viola Davis, and Olivia Colman over Glenn Close. But Austin Butler is young, and was a relative unknown before “Elvis.” When Rami Malek won for “Bohemian Rhapsody” at a similar young age, he was already an Emmy winner for “Mr. Robot.”

My final prediction: Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)

Best Actress

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Cate Blanchett (Tar)
Bet now
-165
Michelle Yeoh (EEAAO)
Bet now
+120
Andrea Riseborough (To Leslie)
Bet now
+2500
Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans)
Bet now
+2800
Ana de Armas (Blonde)
Bet now
+5000

Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”)

While a lot has been made of the career narratives of many of the acting contenders this season, Blanchett arguably has her own narrative at play. That being, she’s one of the best actresses of her generation, and this is perhaps the best performance of her career. I think that story is quite powerful in its own way. Though it’s a voting body with no Academy overlap, I still think it’s significant that the Critics Choice picked Cate Blanchett, even though “Everything Everywhere” did very well there. And while “TÁR” is obviously a very well-liked film, having nominations for its directing, writing, editing, and cinematography, I think everyone knows that this category is by far the film’s best chance to win an Oscar.

A lover of “TÁR” will probably feel more compelled to vote for Cate than an “Everything Everywhere” fan will be to vote for Michelle, given that “Everything Everywhere” seems very likely to win several other categories.

Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Yeoh has the advantage of being in the probable Best Picture winner. And after having picked up a crucial win with SAG, everyone seems to agree that she has all the momentum in this race. But there a couple of reasons why Yeoh’s SAG win might not translate to the Oscars. First, SAG obviously really loved “Everything Everywhere,” giving the movie an unprecedented three individual awards along with the Best Ensemble prize. Could Yeoh have been propelled to a win by an overwhelming love for her movie that might not be quite as strong with the Academy? Also, for whatever reason SAG has a history of opting for a more diverse set of acting winners than the Oscars. I won’t try to guess why this is the case, but there are several examples of SAG awarding a person of color who did not go on to win the Oscar (Chadwick Boseman, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis (twice), Idris Elba, Ruby Dee).

However, like Fraser, the goodwill for Yeoh this awards season has been undeniable. I do think there will be a lot of people who want to see Michelle win, not only because of what it means for representation, but also because they just love her. Ultimately, I think Blanchett was too far out in front to be caught, but it’s very possible I’m underestimating the groundswell for Yeoh.

My final prediction: Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”)

Best Supporting Actor

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Ke Huy Quan (EEAAO)
Bet now
-5000

Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Congrats Ke! Can’t wait to see your next movie.

My final prediction: Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Best Supporting Actress

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
Bet now
+125
Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin)
Bet now
+225
Jamie Lee Curtis (EEAAO)
Bet now
+150
Stephanie Hsu (EEAAO)
Bet now
+2500
Hong Chau (The Whale)
Bet now
+4000

Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Back in January, before any of the major televised precursor awards, I tweeted that Jamie Lee Curtis would win this category. But when Angela Bassett took home the first two big trophies of the season at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, I gave up on the idea. It seemed that Bassett had usurped the overdue career narrative that I thought might apply to Curtis. But then Curtis won at SAG, and I thought she gave a really great speech. She was self-deprecating about her “nepo baby” status, continued her cheerleading for Michelle Yeoh, but made sure to remind everyone that she’s 64 years old and really grateful for this recognition at this point in her career.

Sure, her performance in “Everything Everywhere” might be a bit cartoonish in parts, but it serves the movie well. She puts on an accent and de-glams for the role, something the Academy has historically respected (think Charlize Theron in “Monster” or Nicole Kidman in “The Hours”). I honestly don’t think most Academy voters will consider her unworthy of this award, especially considering their love for “Everything Everywhere.” As with Brendan Fraser, I think there’s a bit of surprise factor at play here. I mean, I certainly didn’t know Jamie Lee Curtis had that in her. Did you? In addition, Curtis has done so much this season to promote “Everything Everywhere.”

I think for much of the Academy, she was their gateway to taking this film seriously. I can see her getting a lot of credit for that. Maybe most importantly, if it wasn’t clear already, the SAG Awards showed how much the industry loves this woman. I think there are a lot of Academy voters who want to see her win, and that can be a very powerful thing. It’s not extremely common to only win the SAG and then win the Oscar, as Curtis would have to do here, but it has happened before. Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, and Robin Williams — all beloved actors who had never won an Oscar before — manged to pull this off. Could Curtis do the same?

Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)

Going on to win the Oscar after just winning BAFTA, which Condon would be doing, has also happened before. But the two recent examples of this, Frances McDormand and Anthony Hopkins, were both legendary actors. Like Austin Butler, most Academy voters probably didn’t know who Kerry Condon was before they saw her in “Banshees.” And like Colin Farrell, I’ve always thought that her performance in “Banshees” might not be flashy enough to win an Oscar. If one of these two factors weren’t present; that is, if she were a more well-known actress, or if her performance jumped off the screen a little more, I might very well be predicting her to win this. But the combination of the two feels like too much to overcome. Also, the puzzling BAFTA loss of heavy Oscar favorite Ke Huy Quan to Barry Keoghan of “Banshees” seems to be an indication that the Brits didn’t connect with “Everything Everywhere” nearly as much as the Academy will. So, when it comes to an “Everything Everywhere” actor/actress going up against a “Banshees” actor/actress, it might make sense to trust SAG over BAFTA.

Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)

As I mentioned earlier, SAG has a more consistent history of awarding people of color than the Oscars do. So I think it’s very telling that even with Bassett being the well-established frontrunner at that point, SAG still decided to go for Jamie Lee Curtis. Also, if there’s any voting body that wouldn’t turn up their noses at Bassett being in a Marvel movie, it should have been a massive, populist group like SAG. It has happened — most recently with Regina King — that someone wins at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice, fails to win SAG or BAFTA, but still wins the Oscar. But in King’s case, she wasn’t nominated at SAG or BAFTA, so she didn’t actually lose at those places. I’d put Bassett at 3rd place in this category, but I wouldn’t rule her out completely. I do think a lot of people were happy about the prospect of Angela Bassett winning an Oscar when it seemed like that was the likely outcome. But, ultimately I think a lot of those people will be just as happy to see Jamie Lee run up to the stage.

My final prediction: Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All At Once”)

Best Original Screenplay

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
The Banshees of Inisherin
Bet now
-150
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bet now
+110
Tar
Bet now
+2000
The Fabelmans
Bet now
+2500
Triangle of Sadness
Bet now
+3500

I originally gave the slight edge to “Banshees” in this category because I thought it could be seen as a more writerly movie, and that this could serve as a consolation prize for highly respected writer-director Martin McDonagh. But now, “Banshees” looks a little weaker after losing to “All Quiet” on its home turf at the BAFTAs, and “Everything Everywhere” looks even stronger after a slew of wins with the various guilds. So with the gap between these two films being wider than I originally thought, and with “Everything Everywhere” being the most original screenplay of the bunch (which often wins in this category), I now think “Everything Everywhere” will take this.

I’m sure there will be those who want to see McDonagh rewarded, but I don’t think that will be enough to overcome a beloved Best Picture winner with an extremely novel screenplay.

My final prediction: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Women Talking
Bet now
-250
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
+160
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Bet now
+2000
Living
Bet now
+2500
Top Gun Maverick
Bet now
+2500

I was originally pretty confident in “Women Talking” here, mostly due to “All Quiet on the Western Front” being a war movie, which hasn’t won a screenplay Oscar since 1971, as well as the love and respect in the Academy for writer-director Sarah Polley, who’s been nominated in this category before. And the prospects for “Women Talking” in this category have only improved since then, with it winning the WGA and the USC Scripter Award. The only thing is, given the performance of “All Quiet” at the BAFTAs, that movie has also gotten stronger.

“All Quiet on the Western Front” is a far more well known literary work, and that fact could possibly give it a boost (though name recognition didn’t help “Little Women” beat “Jojo Rabbit” in this category recently). It’s possible the overall strength of “All Quiet” will result in a win here, but “Women Talking” did get a Best Picture nomination (and a Best Ensemble nomination at SAG), so it does have a good amount of support in the Academy as well.

My final prediction: “Women Talking”

Best Film Editing

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bet now
-225
Top Gun Maverick
Bet now
+160
The Banshees of Inisherin
Bet now
+1600
Elvis
Bet now
+2500
Tar
Bet now
+3500

My original read on this category was that “Top Gun: Maverick” was a more typical winner than “Everything Everywhere,” especially having picked up the Best Sound nomination that “technical achievement” films often do. But as I noted in my last update, “Everything Everywhere” just hasn’t stopped winning in this category. And I can understand why: the editing is one of the main reasons why this universe-jumping movie works.

There’s a particularly memorable sequence near the end that cycles through all of the different versions of Michelle Yeoh’s character. Sure, there’s a chance the Academy defaults to the action movie in this category as they have in the past. But I think “Everything Everywhere” winning at BAFTA here, when it couldn’t win in any other category, was telling. The Brits may not have loved this movie, but they still rewarded its editing.

My final prediction: “Everything Everywhere All At Once”

Best Cinematography

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
-550
Empire Of Light
Bet now
+1100
Elvis
Bet now
+330
Tar
Bet now
+2000
Bardo
Bet now
+4000

My first take here was a slight lean towards “All Quiet,” but I didn’t like the price and was more interested in a bet on “Elvis.” Since then, “All Quiet” added a cinematography win at BAFTA to its win with the British Society of Cinematographers. But “All Quiet” didn’t get nominated with the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), when the Oscar winner in this category has gotten an ASC nomination for the last 15 years in a row. Then “Elvis” won the ASC, making Mandy Walker the first woman to win the top prize in that group’s history. With this occurring in the middle of Oscar voting, is it possible the seal of approval from the cinematographers in the Academy might give “Elvis” the boost it needs to win? I think that win for “Elvis” at the ASC, especially over the precursor awards leader “Top Gun: Maverick,” might be a sign that many in the Academy want to finally see a woman win in this category.

My final prediction: “Elvis”

Best Production Design

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Babylon
Bet now
-250
Elvis
Bet now
+330
Avatar: The Way of Water
Bet now
+750
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
+800
The Fabelmans
Bet now
+3500

Despite the overall weakness of “Babylon” this season, this is the one category that it keeps winning. In particular, it managed to beat “All Quiet” and “Elvis” at the BAFTAs, when both of those movies won several awards there. It’s at a disadvantage being the only film in this category not nominated for Best Picture, but that hasn’t managed to hold it back yet. My guess is “Elvis” would be the potential spoiler here, but I don’t see any compelling reason to predict an upset.

My final prediction: “Babylon”

Best Costume Design

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Elvis
Bet now
-165
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Bet now
+185
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bet now
+500
Mrs Harris Goes to Paris
Bet now
+2500
Babylon
Bet now
+2500

I originally leaned towards “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” here, which if it won would make Ruth E. Carter the first Black woman to win two Oscars in any category. But “Elvis” won at BAFTA (“Wakanda Forever” was not nominated there). Then, in a stunning upset, “Everything Everywhere” beat “Wakanda Forever” at the Costume Designers Guild.

That is a giant red flag that “Wakanda Forever” is not as strong as we may have thought in this category. In retrospect, it’s not often that a sequel film wins an Oscar for the same category as the original. I think “Avatar: The Way of Water” can overcome that in Best Visual Effects due to the great advances in technology and innovation since the first “Avatar” was released in 2009. But I can see how in the case of “Wakanda Forever,” some voters might feel like they’ve already rewarded similar work. “Wakanda Forever” was also not received as well as the original “Black Panther,” and the recent losses of Angela Bassett at BAFTA and SAG may indicate that the MCU movie is even weaker with the Academy than we once thought.

My final prediction: “Elvis”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Elvis
Bet now
-225
The Whale
Bet now
+150
The Batman
Bet now
+2500
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Bet now
+2800
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
+4000

It’s still possible that this will go to “The Whale,” which probably features the single most impressive makeup job in the category. You could argue that the makeup on Brendan Fraser is absolutely essential for that movie to work. And the team for “The Whale” actually used digital sculpting and 3D printing to create Fraser’s transformation. However, as I wrote in my last update, “Elvis” won in this category at BAFTA and Critics Choice (even though that group went with Brendan Fraser in Best Actor).

I think the voters are respecting the overall scale of “Elvis” and the variety of work on display. And the category name is not just Best Makeup, but Best Makeup and Hairstyling, so in a close contest, the tiebreaker may be the King’s iconic hair.

My final prediction: “Elvis”

Best Original Score

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Babylon
Bet now
-225
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
+175
The Fabelmans
Bet now
+1000
The Banshees of Inisherin
Bet now
+2800
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Bet now
+2000

My first thought here was that the score of “Babylon” stood out so much that it was simply undeniable. But if that’s true, why did it lose at the Critics Choice and at BAFTA? I could maybe explain away one or the other of these losses, but if this score wasn’t able to win with two completely different voting bodies, my original thesis is clearly flawed.

Again, “Babylon” is not a Best Picture nominee and seems to be very divisive both with critics and the industry. It’s possible that it’s just not well-liked enough to win in this category. In fact, the 56% Rotten Tomatoes score of “Babylon” would be the lowest to win this category since “Pocahontas” in 1996. Maybe some voters find the score of “Babylon” too loud and oppressive, or too repetitive, or maybe they feel that it’s simply a remix of Justin Hurwitz’s previous Oscar-winning score for “La La Land.”

Whatever the reason or reasons may be, I no longer think “Babylon” is winning this category. “All Quiet” won the BAFTA, and although its score is much less elaborate than that of “Babylon,” it’s very effective. Those three notes, man. BWAH BWAH BWAH. It reminds me a little bit of that simple but memorable “Social Network” theme that won in this category. Upset special: it’s an unconventional score, but I think “Everything Everywhere All At Once” seems mispriced at +2800.

The original “Black Panther” came out of nowhere to win this category, at least partly due to the exuberance surrounding that film, and we know how people feel about “Everything Everywhere.” If they don’t feel strongly about the music of “Babylon” or “All Quiet,” I could see people simply voting for their favorite movie here.

My final prediction: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Best Original Song

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Naatu Naatu (RRR)
Bet now
-500
Lift Me Up (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
Bet now
+400
Hold My Hand (Top Gun: Maverick)
Bet now
+600
This is a Life (EEAAO)
Bet now
+4000
Applause (Tell It Like a Woman)
Bet now
+5000

“RRR” won the Golden Globe and the Critics Choice Award, historically a strong combination in this category. Also, in part due to a baffling decision by India to not submit the film for Best International Feature, this is the only category it’s nominated in. Therefore, any fans of “RRR” will have to vote for it here if they want to see it win anything. There is a risk that “RRR” may be underseen compared to the others, a few of which are Best Picture nominees. But I think Naatu Naatu be a song that some voters will listen to and vote for even if they haven’t taken the time to watch the 3-hour Tollywood epic.

My final prediction: Naatu Naatu (“RRR”)

Best Sound

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Top Gun Maverick
Bet now
-750
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
+400
Avatar: The Way of Water
Bet now
+1400
Elvis
Bet now
+2000
The Batman
Bet now
+6500

“Top Gun: Maverick” was one of the most popular movies of the year, and I think a lot of Academy voters would like to see it win something. This is a natural category to check it off. As I wrote in my initial predictions article, planes go boom. “All Quiet” did win the BAFTA in this category, but it seems likely that BAFTA favored “All Quiet” more than the Academy will. And “Top Gun: Maverick” won the top prizes of the Cinema Audio Society and the Motion Picture Sound Editors. It’s possible that “All Quiet” could surprise here, as war films tend to do well in this category. However, winners of this category at the Oscars often are nominated for Best Editing, which “All Quiet” is not. I think the largely American Academy voters will favor the American movie here.

My final prediction: “Top Gun: Maverick”

Best Visual Effects

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Avatar: The Way of Water
Bet now
-2500

Not much to discuss here, so I’ll give my prediction in this category for next year’s Oscars. The winner will be “Dune: Part Two.”

My final prediction: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

Best Animated Feature

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Bet now
-3500

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” has won every important precursor award. One of the few true locks of the evening.

My final prediction: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”

Best Documentary Feature

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Navalny
Bet now
-250
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Bet now
+700
Fire of Love
Bet now
+300
All That Breathes
Bet now
+2500
A House Made of Splinters
Bet now
+4000

This is a tough one for me. I know a lot of Oscar predictors out there are pretty confident in “Navalny.” Centered around a heroic political rival to Vladimir Putin, it would be a timely winner here. The film did win with the PGA and at the BAFTAs, but did it get a boost there due to the subject matter hitting a little closer to home over in Europe?

Meanwhile, the crowd-pleasing “Fire of Love” won with the DGA and the American Cinema Editors (ACE). If the timeliness of “Navalny” is such a strong pull for voters in this race, why didn’t the DGA or the ACE go for it? Looking back at the recent history of these four awards, ACE has actually been the best predictor, nailing 8 out of the last 10 Oscar winners in this category.

DGA was the only one of the four to predict the win for “American Factory” three years ago. And it’s hard to say how much this will make a difference, but right before Oscar voting, it was announced that “Fire of Love” would be adapted into a narrative feature film. That might help create the perception that “Fire of Love” is a worthy winner of this category, or it might compel more voters to check out the film before the close of voting. “Navalny” makes total sense as a winner here, it really does, but I’m going with my gut.

My final prediction: “Fire of Love”

Best International Feature

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bet now
-2000

This could actually be the biggest lock on the board. Best Picture nominees don’t ever lose in this category, and the BAFTA results showed that this movie is a particularly strong Best Picture nominee.

My final prediction: “All Quiet on the Western Front”

According to Jacob, we “don’t really have much to go on” and “anything can happen” in the remaining categories below.

Best Live-Action Short

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
An Irish Goodbye
Bet now
+100
Le Pupille
Bet now
+150
The Red Suitcase
Bet now
+500
Ivalu
Bet now
+1600
Night Ride
Bet now
+1200

As I said in my original predictions article, “An Irish Goodbye” is the only nominee in English, and I think that could be a big advantage here. The same was true for “The Neighbors’ Window” in this category 3 years ago. “An Irish Goodbye” also won its category at the BAFTAs, and it feels like the kind of simple, uplifting story that would appeal to a lot of people. “Le Pupille” has two big things going for it: it has Disney marketing dollars backing it, and it’s produced by Oscar-winning director Alfonso Cuarón. But it’s 37 minutes long, and Oscar winners in this category tend to be significantly shorter. One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people have cited “The Red Suitcase” as their favorite of the bunch.

Looking at the anonymous Oscar ballots that have been posted so far, there have been only four votes in this category, but all four went to “The Red Suitcase”! Based on this outcome, it’s more likely than not that “The Red Suitcase” is a legitimate contender to win. But I’m not going to change my prediction based on such a small sample of votes.

My final prediction: “An Irish Goodbye”

Best Documentary Short

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
The Elephant Whisperers
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-165
Stranger at the Gate
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+200
Haulout
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+400
How Do You Measure a Year?
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+1400
The Martha Mitchell Effect
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+1600

Netflix has historically done well in the short categories, and its best contender this year is arguably “The Elephant Whisperers,” a charming story about a couple who cares for an orphaned baby elephant. But I think this one is also at a disadvantage due to its relatively long running time of 39 minutes. “Stranger at the Gate” is about a small mosque in Indiana and the man who planned to bomb it, before coming to his senses after meeting the community. Based on past winners in the short categories, this seems like the kind of messaging that the Academy will feel good about voting for. And for an extra layer of gravitas, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is one of the film’s producers. Word is, she’s been making a big campaign push in the home stretch. Will it be enough?

My final prediction: “Stranger at the Gate”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Game
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
The Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse
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-300
Ice Merchants
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+350
My Year of Dicks
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+450
An Ostrich Told Me ...
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+1600
The Flying Sailor
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+2000

I’ve gone back and forth on this category, but I may be overthinking it. After winning Best Picture last year with “Coda,” Apple’s only chance for an Oscar this year is “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse.” The tech giant is reportedly promoting the hell out of “The Boy, the Mole,” pulling out all the stops to secure the win in this category. It has celebrity voices and is based on an extremely popular children’s book. But like “Le Pupille” and “The Elephant Whisperers,” it’s just too damn long (34 minutes). Also, it’s squarely directed at young children and full of trite messaging.

It reminds me of Netflix’s “Robin Robin,” a cutesy short over 30 minutes long that lost in this category last year. I think the two most likely challengers to “The Boy, the Mole” are “Ice Merchants” and “My Year of Dicks.” “Ice Merchants” is a wordless, beautifully drawn story that feels like the arthouse pick. If this were a group of film critics or animators voting, I’d go for that one. But with the whole Academy voting, I think “My Year of Dicks” is going to stand out, not only due to its eye-catching title, but also because of its humor, its variety of animation styles, and the fact that it’s a female coming-of-age story written and directed by women.

My final prediction: “My Year of Dicks”

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Alex Jacob Avatar
Written by
Alex Jacob

Alex Jacob is an avid follower and predictor of award shows like the Oscars. A former professional poker player, he won the 2015 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions and competed in the Jeopardy! All-Star Games in 2019. He's now the host and writer of the greatest e-mail newsletter trivia league in all the land. You can follow him on Twitter @whoisalexjacob and check out his other work at schooloftrivia.com.

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