By Adam Thompson | | 7 mins
Oscars 2020 Betting Guide, Odds & Darkhorses to Consider
Bookies.com handicapper Adam Thompson — a screenwriter in his free time who was head writer on the Amazon Prime TV drama “A Billion to One” — has broken down several of the marquee awards for Sunday’s Oscars show.
The 92nd Academy Awards are Sunday, and you can get in on the action — depending on where you live, of course.
The Oscars recognize the best of the best in film from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Many of the top sportsbooks in New Jersey as well as in Indiana are now offering 2020 Oscars odds, including DraftKings and 888sport.
Picking Oscar winners isn’t just blind luck, and it’s not necessarily about choosing the best film or best performance. There are trends that can point in the right direction.
Note: All odds below are available at 888sport and current as of publication.
Best Picture Odds
|Once Upon A Time In Hollywood||+900|
|Ford v Ferrari||+25000|
The Favorite: The World War I film “1917” was groundbreaking in its cinematography, but it wasn’t just flash and dash. The story was riveting and actors big and small were memorable. Few films lately make you clutch your chair as you watch it. “1917” won the Golden Globes before the film garnered wide release. Now it’s out there, and it’s the favorite for a reason.
Darkhorse to Watch: Astonishing enough, the favorite hasn’t won the Oscar the last three years – “Green Book” was a mini-shocker last year, as was “The Shape of Water” in 2017, while “Moonlight” in 2016 was a bona fide upset. The No. 2 choice on the board this time is “Parasite.” Only 11 foreign language films have ever been nominated, and none have won. But it’s making history with its nominations and, in some cases, its wins, including the Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.
Best Actor Odds
|Joaquin Phoenix, Joker||-5000|
|Adam Driver, Marriage Story||+1000|
|Leonardo DiCaprio, Once Upon…||+3300|
|Antonio Banderas, Pain & Glory||+5000|
|Jonathan Pryce, The Two Popes||+6600|
The Favorite: Phoenix has won every acting award this year for his portrayal of the Joker – and for good reason. It’s a MasterClass on the art. He’s not losing.
Darkhorse to Watch: Seven of the last 10 Oscars for this award have gone to actors playing real-life people, but only one entrant has that mantra, and it’s big underdog Pryce. How about Banderas, who had earned rave reviews for his role in the Spanish-speaking “Pain & Glory,” a film Time Magazine dubbed Film of the Year? It’s his first nomination, and the payout potential is far better than Driver’s.
Best Actress Odds
|Renee Zellweger, Judy||-2500|
|Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story||+1000|
|Cynthia Erivo, Harriet||+2000|
|Charlize Theron, Bombshell||+2500|
|Saoirse Ronan, Little Women||+3300|
The Favorite: Eight of the last 10 Best Actress awards previously won the same award at the Golden Globes. Over the past 20 years, 14 have taken both statuettes. Zellweger won the first one already. She’s the big favorite to take this one, too, following her memorable portrayal of doomed silver screen legend Judy Garland. She won at the Golden Globes, Critic’s Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and 10 of the last 12 actresses who won those three won this one as well.
Darkhorse to Watch: Johansson was lauded for her performance in “Marriage Story,” and some trends point to her being an actual darkhorse contender. For one, actresses playing real-life people haven’t been as successful in the awards department as their male counterparts. Seventeen nominations the last 10 years have yielded just three wins. Also, the Academy has been awarding first-time winners for this category more often than not lately. Johansson is going for her first Oscar; Zellweger already has won (though it was 16 years ago for “Cold Mountain”).
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Best Director Odds
|Sam Mendes, 1917||-560|
|Bong Joon Ho, Parasite||+325|
|Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon…||+1700|
|Martin Scorsese, The Irishman||+5000|
|Todd Phillips, Joker||+5000|
The Favorite: Mendes has cleaned house in most major awards shows for “1917,” so it would be a surprise to see him lose at the Super Bowl of awards shows. Eight of the last 10 Best Director awards have gone to non-Americans, and Mendes is a Brit.
Darkhorse to Watch: Bong Joon Ho isn’t American, either, and he’s been just behind Mendes at every awards turn. The New York Times declared he might be the “Filmmaker of the Century” after "Parasite" came out. It’s supremely directed. If “1917” is to win Best Picture and Best Cinematography, perhaps it’s this category that helps spread the love.
Best Supporting Actor Odds
|Brad Pitt, Once Upon…||-3335|
|Joe Pesci, The Irishman||+1200|
|Al Pacino, The Irishman||+2800|
|Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day…||+3300|
|Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes||+5000|
The Favorite: Pitt has swept the Best Supporting Actor awards this season, and with two actors from the same film likely batting each other for bids, Pitt should take the Oscar as well.
Darkhorse to Watch: It comes down to Pesci and Pacino, and it’s a strong split as to which was preferred in the supremely acted Martin Scorsese drama. Personally, I thought Pesci played his part perfectly, and it was more ingrained in the film. He already has won an Oscar in this category for “Goodfellas.”
Best Supporting Actress Odds
|Laura Dern, Marriage Story||-2500|
|Margot Robbie, Bombshell||+1200|
|Florence Pugh, Little Women||+1400|
|Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit||+2000|
|Kathy Bates, Richard Jewell||+5000|
The Favorite: Dern has had a successful awards season for her role as a fast-talking lawyer, including the victory at the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and Critics Choice Awards. She’s a two-time Oscar nominee but has yet to win, which gives even more reason to side with the huge favorite here.
Darkhorse to Watch: Johannsson is also nominated for Best Actress, a dual-nominee that had never happened before. She may not win the “big one” but could get a surprise hit here — though it would be over her “Marriage Story” co-star.
Best Animated Feature Odds
|Toy Story 4||-125|
|I Lost My Body||+3300|
|How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming||+5000|
The Favorite: "Toy Story 4" is Pixar’s entrant, and if Pixar makes it, it’s the favorite. The company has more nominations than any other in this category with nine wins — Disney is the only other company with more than one (it has three). "Klaus" has made a hard charge to near co-favorite status after shortening considerably recently.
Darkhorse to Watch: "Klaus" has picked up steam in the last month, but “Missing Link,” the claymation piece about a lonely Sasquatch, was the surprise winner at the Golden Globes. You’re not going to find a more-realistic darkhorse contender in a major category than right here. Perhaps Oscar voters have also grown tired of sequels and remakes.
Best Cinematography Odds
|Once Upon A Time In Hollywood||+1700|
The Favorite: “1917” was filmed to make it appear as one, single shot. It was harrowing filmmaking at its finest and Hollywood is going to reward it. Roger Deakins, the film’s cinematographer, won this award in 2018 for “Blade Runner 2049.”
Darkhorse to Watch: “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” was a beautiful film and is a worthy No. 2 contender. It would likely win this in most years if a film like “1917” wasn’t in the mix. Perhaps enough voters reward Quentin Tarantino and his longtime cinematographer, three-time Oscar winner Robert Richardson.