Your 2020 Oscars Betting Predictions

Welcome to our 2020 Oscars Betting Predictions Guide.

To help you find an edge, The Analysts have previewed all of the main awards in their comprehensive betting guide of the 92nd Academy Awards.

The nominations for the main categories are loaded this year, especially for the best picture.

Go where the value is on the Betfair Exchange.

Best Picture

This award is shaping up to be a three-film race according to betting markets, with 1917 storming in to be an odds-on favourite in the last month after its mid-January release. The other two contenders are Bong Joon-ho’s universally acclaimed Korean thriller Parasite and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (OATIH) which was trading as low as $3.00 for this award as recently late 2019. Since that point 1917 was released an the Golden Globes happened, seeing OATIH drift out to $9.20 on the exchange.

All three contenders succeeded in various ways at the Globes; however, it was OATIH which drifted in the market. 1917 does look likely here and has shown the signs needed to win this award (winning best Drama and best Director at the Globes) but $1.60 seems too short. Parasite won the prestigious Palme D’Or at Cannes earlier in 2019 but was still trading at near $10 until it won best foreign language film at the Globes last month.

There’s a pretty strong precedent to fade Parasite’s chances for Best Picture. The academy has a history of failing to recognise foreign films (the $1.20 best picture favourite last year, Mexican film Roma, was rolled by the extremely American Green Book) and the film doesn’t really fit the mould of typical best picture winners.

OATIH has strong credentials and a pretty compelling case to win the award. Grossing nearly $400m worldwide it has had both commercial and critical success. The film includes excellent performances by three of Hollywood’s darlings (Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio and Margot Robbie) and Pitt will likely secure best supporting actor at this awards.

With a mouth-watering filmography, Tarantino is yet to win the Best Director or Best Director categories; you could see the academy handing him this award not only on the merits of this film alone but a transcendent career, much like when Di Caprio won Best Actor for The Revenant in 2016. Finally, with a reputation as a reasonably vain and self-absorbed community, the academy is likely to be particularly captivated by a movie largely about itself.

Below the top 3 are The Joker at $13.5 (a seemingly absurd price for a superhero movie), and the two Netflix nominations The Irishman and Marriage Story joining a set of other good films at long odds. You can’t just be a good film to win this category though and you tend to need to fit a particular mould. 1917 and OATIH seem to line up the best, with OATIH looking like a really good value bet. Further, fading the foreign film language film in this category has historically been a solid play and looks to continue this year.

 BACK – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at $9.20 or higher for 2 units

 LAY – Parasite up to $6.20 for 2 units

Best Director

Sam Mendes’ 1917 is a showcase of his technical prowess, cinematic innovation and complex orchestration and stands in a tier above the rest of the field. Efforts like this have typically captivated the Academy in the last decade with Alejandro Inarritu winning in back to back years with Birdman and The Revenant in 2014-15 (Birdman being particularly relevant as another single-shot style film) and Alfonsu Cuaron won the award the year before for Gravity.

These films required immense efforts of orchestration or showcased a unique aesthetic or cinematic style. Mendes won this award in 2000 for American Beauty and has taken home both the Globe and the critics choice award in the director category. If 1917 misses out on Best Picture it would be hard to bet against Mendes here as a film of this calibre rarely misses out across the board.

The other competing dynamic in this category is the dominance of international directors in recent years. Since 2010, eight of nine best director winners have been non-American with multiple wins coming from Mexican and French born directors. It seems to be a category where the Academy’s usual American biases are less pronounced; perhaps even showing a bias in the other direction with some notable American directorial snubs in previous years.

This could create the conditions for a potential upset from Bong Joon-Ho for Parasite which has been building momentum for some kind of showing at these awards. Boon Joon-Ho is the danger, and with Mendes shortening from $1.60 into a somewhat unbackable $1.25, he might be the best here at $7.60. Mendes is still most likely to win but Joon-Ho is a chance and looks like the value bet.

 BACK – Boong Joon-Ho (Parasite) at $7.60 or higher for 1 unit.

Best Actor

This category has had some of the most lopsided races in recent years with Rami Malek’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury winning as a $1.20 favourite last year.

Malek’s win had a very similar profile, in a lot of ways, to Phoenix’s performance as the Joker in The Joker. Like Bohemian Rhapsody, The Joker won’t scratch in many (if any) of the other categories at the awards this year and was a film entirely carried by Phoenix’s incredible performance as a mentally unwell Joker becoming unhinged as his life slowly spirals out of control.

This is Phoenix’s 4th nomination at the Oscars and is yet to win either a best or best-supporting actor, however, he’s taken home all 3 of the Globe / SAG / Critics Choice award for this role. Phoenix’s only competition is Adam Driver’s Kramer vs Kramer-like performance in Netflix’s Marriage Story at $20 and Leonardo Di Caprio’s predictably exceptional performance as Rick Dalton in OATIH at 90+.

Di Capiro is a little overshadowed by Pitt’s performance (which could nearly be considered the lead role in that film) and Driver likely doesn’t do enough in Marriage Story to win in this category. Phoenix losing would be a huge upset. I don’t always like betting favourites, but this is about as good a $1.07 bet as they come.

 BACK – Joaquin Phoenix (The Joker) at $1.07 or higher.

Best Actress

Best actress is headlined by two familiar names either reviving their career or foraying into loftier cinema in Renee Zellweger and Scarlett Johansson.

This award is normally interesting as it typically goes to early career actresses (Emma Stone, Brie Larson, and Jennifer Lawrence won in their 20s or 30s for example) and cuts against the male award which tends to award late career actors. Renee Zellweger’s performance in Judy was lauded and immediately pigeonholed for this award. Zellweger plays Judy Garland in the last year of her life as she battles the effects of a lifetime of substance abuse and exploitation.

The Academy loves biopics about entertainment icons (particularly film stars) and films about the entertainment industry more generally, so betting markets rightly see Zellweger as nearly a sure thing. Zellweger has ticked additional boxes by picking up both the Globe and SAG award for best actress. Zelwegger’s only real competition is Johansson’s performance as a conflicted wife navigating a messy divorce in Marriage Story.

Johansson put in a good performance by her standards, but not the kind of superior performance you see from winners in this category. Below these two are Cynthia Erivo, Saoirse Ronan and Charlize Theron at long odds. Like the short priced Phoenix, I can’t see it being anyone other than Zellweger here.

 BACK – Renee Zellweger (Judy) at $1.15 or higher.

Best Supporting Actress

The secondary actor categories both contain huge favourites in Laura Dern and Brad Pitt both at about $1.10 on the exchange.

Both are figures beloved by Hollywood and star in supporting roles that seem written to win this award: Dern as an extremely sharp feminist lawyer supporting Johannson’s character through her divorce in Marriage Story and Pitt as the cool solitary ex-stunt man Cliff Booth in OATIH.

Both have cleaned up at the SAGs and Globes and look to be near locks for their respective categories.

 BACK – Laura Dern (Marriage Story) at $1.15 or higher.

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