Oscars Odds: Expert Picks, Predictions, Potential Bets For 2024 Academy Awards Sunday Night

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Written By Alex Jacob | Last Updated
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The 96th Academy Awards are on Sunday night, starting at 7 p.m. ET, and airing on ABC in the United States. If Oscars odds are any indication, Oppenheimer is set to have a big night. While categories are not as wide open as last year, there are still plenty of Oscars betting opportunities for us. Here are my final expert picks and predictions for the winners in the most popular categories, along with a few others I think there still may be value in betting.

Hollywood’s big night takes place one week before Selection Sunday and the start of March Madness betting. Lead writer Giovanni Shorter has also reported on which states have Oscars betting for 2024.

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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 Academy Awards, loves handicapping Oscars odds, and he follows the Hollywood awards circuit religiously to uncover value in the betting markets.

Editor’s Note

Best Picture

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Oppenheimer
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This time last year, heavy Best Picture favorite “Everything Everywhere All At Once” was listed at -1400. “Oppenheimer” is at -5000. This is the biggest lock in this category in recent Oscars odds.

“Oppenheimer” is 100% going to win, but there’s obviously very little value here.

Best Director

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Christopher Nolan
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Same story as Best Picture.

Christopher Nolan has never won an Oscar before, and “Oppenheimer” is his most Oscar-friendly film. He’s taken every major prize so far this season and there’s no doubt he’s going to win this category.

Unfortunately, the Oscars odds reflect that.

Best Actor

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Cillian Murphy
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Paul Giamatti
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Bradley Cooper
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Up until recently this looked like a two-way race between Cillian Murphy for “Oppenheimer” and Paul Giamatti for “The Holdovers,” with Bradley Cooper on the outside looking in. But Giamatti really needed a win at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to stay in this.

If the Best Picture winner is a biopic called “Oppenheimer,” it surely makes sense for the guy who played Oppenheimer to win. The same thing happened with “Patton” (George C. Scott) and “Gandhi” (Ben Kingsley).

Best Actress

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Lily Gladstone
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Emma Stone
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This is really the only major category in Oscars odds this year that’s at all in doubt, so let’s break it down.

After winning at BAFTA (where Lily Gladstone was not even nominated), Emma Stone seemed to have all the momentum in this race. My sense is that “Poor Things” is slightly preferred by the Academy over Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” — the two films got most of the same nominations, but “Poor Things” managed to get a key screenplay nomination that “Killers” missed.

You could argue that Stone would be a more typical winner of this category because her performance in “Poor Things” is flashier than the subtle, internal work that Lily Gladstone is doing. Also, Stone dominates her film while some have even argued that Gladstone should have been nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category. According to screentimecentral.com, Gladstone is only on screen 27.29% of the time, compared to 68.77% for Stone.

Emma Stone did win an Oscar somewhat recently (for “La La Land”), but she’s one of the most acclaimed actresses of her generation and it’s fairly common for the Oscars to award someone twice in quick succession.

However, the opportunity to make history can be very compelling. We’ve often seen the Academy jump at that chance, a recent example being Michelle Yeoh becoming the first Asian woman to win Best Actress last year. Lily Gladstone would not only be the first Native American to win Best Actress, but the first Native American to ever win any competitive Oscar.

And when Gladstone won at SAG, the crucial last televised awards show before the Oscars, the uproarious reaction in the room was unlike anything surrounding any other winner. I think that SAG win — not only the fact that she won, but how she won — is really telling.

Bettors seem to be feeling the same thing, as I’ve seen the odds get shorter on Gladstone and a little longer on Stone. While I would not be completely shocked to see Emma pull off the upset, I do think Lily is probably still worth a bet at -225. In a close race at the Oscars, a strong narrative is tough to beat.

Best Supporting Actor

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Robert Downey Jr.
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Robert Downey, Jr. has swept the season and hasn’t looked back. It’s a classic “it’s his time” situation — take a beloved actor who’s never won before, throw in a career comeback and an against-type performance in the Best Picture winner, and you’ve got a good recipe for an Oscar.

Another lock, but sadly, not much value here either.

Best Supporting Actress

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Da’Vine Joy Randolph
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Da’Vine Joy Randolph has dominated the season to the point that it’s hard to say who’s in second place, and even DraftKings has Emily Blunt, Danielle Brooks, and America Ferrera all listed at the same longshot price.

A completely different story than Robert Downey Jr. — sometimes a lesser-known name shows up on screen and just blows everyone away.

One of the bigger locks on a night full of locks.

Best Costume Design

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Barbie
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Poor Things
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“Barbie” won at Critics’ Choice and “Poor Things” won at BAFTA, so in theory this is a tossup. But my gut tells me that “Barbie” has to win this. It was the biggest movie of the year at the box office and in pop culture, and the iconic array of costumes on both Barbie and Ken was a big part of that.

This category is often won by historical recreations — movies that bring to life designs we may have only seen in photographs or paintings. And while “Barbie” is reproducing clothes worn by a toy, if you squint a little, it’s kind of the same thing.

Ultimately, I think “Barbie” is so associated with its costumes that many voters will check that box in this category without even thinking.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

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Maestro
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Poor Things
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“Maestro” is a classic winner of this category — dramatic transformative makeup on a nominated lead acting performance in a historical biopic. It’s usually realistic old age makeup that wins this category, rather than fantastical makeup like in “Poor Things.”

Though “Poor Things” did win at BAFTA, in my opinion you don’t really think of the makeup with that movie the way you do with “Maestro.” When I think of “Poor Things,” I first think of Emma Stone, but the most impressive makeup in the movie is on Willem Dafoe.

Meanwhile, lead actor Bradley Cooper almost disappears when you watch “Maestro,” the facial prosthetics are so good. And “Maestro” did beat “Poor Things” head-to-head in two categories at the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, a group that has had good crossover with the Oscars in the past.

“Poor Things” is probably a more popular film overall with the Academy, but that usually doesn’t matter as much in this category as it does in others. I think this actually might be one of the most solid bets among Oscars odds this year; I feel pretty good about “Maestro” winning this one.

Best Visual Effects

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Godzilla Minus One
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The Creator
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Napoleon
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Last year I predicted that “Dune: Part Two” would win this award, but joke’s on me, it wasn’t released in time. As a result, this is one of the tougher categories to predict this year.

A rule a thumb for this category is that it often seems to go to the movie that’s most like a Best Picture nominee; in other words, the most well-liked and respected film. The “Planet of the Apes” movies have amazing visual effects, but they couldn’t beat “Interstellar” or “Blade Runner 2049” in this category at the Oscars.

You could make an argument that the most well-liked film by the Academy is “Napoleon,” since it did also get nominations for its costumes and production design. Since it’s the only film in the category that received three nominations, it may be the most-seen movie of the group (at least compared to “The Creator” and “Godzilla Minus One”), and being a historical epic, it arguably feels the most like a Best Picture nominee.

What’s holding me back with “Napoleon” is that the movie was not that well received; it’s currently sitting at 58% on Rotten Tomatoes. Also, the visual effects in “Napoleon” might not be as impressive to voters as the other nominees, and war films don’t often win this category. Simply due to the additional nominations for “Napoleon” (especially the production design nomination, which winners of this category often have), the long 20-1 Oscars odds are a little tempting.

“The Creator” may actually have the most eye-popping visuals of any of the nominees, but like “Napoleon,” it also received little fanfare upon its release. However, with its win at the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards, “The Creator” is the only nominee with a major precursor win heading into the Oscars. But when it comes to predictiveness, the VES is not the best group to rely on (all of the “Planet of the Apes” movies won there, for example).

While there’s good logic in favor of “Napoleon” and “The Creator” to win, I do think the market has correctly pegged “Godzilla Minus One” as the favorite. The reason is that “Godzilla” has the passion and buzz that “Napoleon” and “The Creator” lack. It has been universally praised, earning a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a video of the team celebrating their Oscar nomination went viral.

I think the love for “Godzilla” will carry the day here.

Best Animated Feature

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Spider-Man: Across The Spider-verse
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The Boy And The Heron
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The Spider-Verse films are beloved, and I’ve even heard some suggest that “Across the Spider-Verse” should have been nominated for Best Picture (the American Film Institute did select it for its 10 best films of the year).

The first Spider-Verse film won this category in a slam dunk; this time things are more complicated with anime legend Hayao Miyazaki in the mix. But Miyazaki already won for “Spirited Away,” so there’s not the same urgency to honor him that there might be otherwise. “The Boy and the Heron” did beat “Spider-Verse” and the Golden Globes and BAFTA, an indication that the international voting bloc might be supporting Miyazaki.

At the end of the day, given the overwhelming popularity of “Spider-Verse,” I would be really surprised to see it lose.

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The short categories are often a crapshoot. But I think the name recognition of John and Yoko is probably enough to make “War is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko” worth a bet at -120.

I’m not saying that the Academy voters will choose it sight unseen (although some probably will), but John and Yoko’s names in the title might be enough to get some people to at least give it a watch.

Best of luck with all of your picks and predictions for this year’s Oscars odds!

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