2021 Oscars Betting Preview and Odds Analysis

profile image of Nikki.Adams
2021 Oscars Betting Preview and Odds Analysis
An Oscar statue is seen at the red carpet arrivals area. Photo by ROBYN BECK / AFP

The 2021 Oscar nominees have been released, prompting entertainment betting markets to weigh in on the film industry’s showpiece event with odds for each and every single category up for grabs.

Nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced Monday morning and top-rated sportsbooks were quick to follow with their unique serving of corresponding Oscars betting odds.

Inasmuch as the list of nominations signals the beginning of Oscars fever, the release also signaled a conspicuous shift in the Academy’s outlook. History is in the making, if you will, as it’s a list of nominations unlike any we’ve ever seen before. Diversity, racial equality, social justice, inclusion are just some of 2020’s defining bywords, and the Academy seemingly has taken stock as two female directors and nine actors of colour are amongst the notable nominees for the film industry’s most prestigious award.

  • For the first time two female directors are up for an Oscar at the same time, Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell up for best director
  • Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun become the first two Asians to compete at the same time for best actor.
  • Carey Mulligan leads the charge for best actress
  • The film “Mank” leads the event with 10 nominations

The Academy’s timely recognition of women and minorities is a watershed moment in the history of the film industry. One that’s set to take betting on the 2021 Oscars into unchartered territory.

An Unprecedented Year for the Film Industry

It’s been one of the most challenging years for Hollywood and the film industry in general around the world, totally and utterly turned upside down by an unprecedented global pandemic that crushed the industry’s business model and altered product consumption by the wider public.

Like all businesses, the film industry was shuttered in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. And as everywhere that caused a profound ripple effect that was felt by all associated with the business. From the process of making movies being called to a halt to cineplexes closing doors to the public. release dates disrupted or scrapped altogether and distribution channels upended, it was a year of extraordinary challenge.

the Oscar statue watches over the 91st Oscars Nominees Luncheon. Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP

And yet, it was also a year of firsts for the industry, giving new meaning to the celebrated Hollywood phrase, “the show must go on”. The virus-era that began last year ushered in change that few would have predicted at the start of 2020. For instance, the year saw some of the top-rated films bypass cinema release dates and go instead straight to digital, films such as Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” or Disney’s blockbuster “Mulan” for example that went straight to streaming platforms Netflix and Disney+ respectively.

It also saw for the first-time ever concerts, performances, plays, and, even, award ceremonies go virtual – the 2020 Emmy’s became the first leading award ceremony to be held entirely virtually. Not least of all, it pushed back Oscar season itself by two months, from its original date of February 28 to April 25.

The challenges of the global pandemic are by no means over, but the film industry has persevered. And with the Oscars in a little more than a month away, the speculation is rife. Here we rundown some of the top categories and the corresponding odds trading across betting sites.

Best Sportsbooks Banner

Oscars 2021 Betting Odds At A Glance

In light of government virus-mandated edits that had a major impact on the film industry’s distribution channels, the Academy amended its eligibility rules to enable films that bypassed theatrical release dates to be considered for the first time in Oscar contention. And unsurprisingly that decision has made a noteworthy impact in several key categories and, perhaps, nowhere more so than in the coveted best picture category.

Netflix got two nods with “Mank”, which leads the scorecard with 10 nominations, and then “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Amazon Studios also received a nod with the “Sound of Metal,” while “Nomadland”, which went straight to Hulu and “Judas and the Black Messiah” which went to HBO Max the same day it enjoyed limited theatre showings also made the cut. By all accounts, “Nomadland” is the presumptive fave and top Oscars pick to walk away with best picture honors.

Oscars: Best Picture

The Trial of the Chicago 7+450
Promising Young Woman+900
Judas and the Black Messiah+1600
Sound of Metal+6600
The Father+6600
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Only five women have ever been in the running for the best director award, but only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 – has ever won the prestigious honor.

The fact that two women received the nod this year is a historic occasion it itself. It remains to be seen whether one of them will actually win it. Having said that Chloe Zhao is the runaway fave according to BetOnline Sportsbook (see BetOnline Review) to claim the Oscar.

Oscars: Best Director

Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)-1200
David Fincher (Mank)+750
Lee Isaac (Minari)+750
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)+1400
Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)+3300
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

US-Chinese director Chloe Zhao poses during a photocall to present the movie “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP

Steven Yeun made history as the first Asian American to be nominated for best actor. Joining him is Riz Ahmed as the first-ever Muslim and first performer of Pakistani descent to be recognised by the Oscars in any acting category. Inasmuch as it’s a landmark moment for the Oscars to recognise two Asian performers within the same category, the fave for best actor unanimously across the board is Chadwick Boseman. Boseman, who tragically succumbed to colon cancer last August, is only the seventh posthumous nominee and the first since Heath Ledger 12 years ago.

Oscars Odds: Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)-3000
Anthony Hopkins (The Father)+700
Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal)+750
Gary Oldman (Mank)+4000
Steven Yeun (Minari)+4000
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

British actress, Carey Mulligan leads the Oscars betting card for best actress while her compatriot Vanessa Kirby rounds out the five women shortlisted for the award. Viola Davis, who’s the most nominated Black female performer with her fourth nomination here, is a tempting underdog to consider in the betting. As is Andra Day, who gave a tour-de-force performance in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday.”

Oscars Odds: Best Actress

Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)-200
Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday)+400
Frances McDormand (Nomadland)+400
Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom)+900
Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)+1000
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Daniel Kaluga and co-star LaKeith Stanfield highlight the best supporting category for their standout performances in “Judas and the Black Messiah.” However, the pair could cancel each other out in the bid for best supporting actor, which might benefit one of the remaining three nominees. By the betting odds, that could well be Sacha Baron Cohen in “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Oscars: Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)-500
Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)+375
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)+800
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)+1800
LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah)+2000
Odds courtesy of BetOnline

Finally, the best supporting actress category, unlike the aforementioned, lacks a clear fave in the betting. None of the nominees are priced in minus money as per BetOnline, meaning this award is the most wide open of the lot for Oscars picks.

Oscars: Best Supporting Actress

Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)+175
Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)+250
Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Movie Film)+250
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)+475
Olivia Colman (The Father)+600
Odds courtesy of BetOnline