Oscars 2023 Odds: Early Look at Best Picture Favorites

The 2023 Academy Awards won't be held for quite some time, but odds are already trickling out for Best Picture honors. Sure, very few of these movies have seen the light of day, but it's never too early to start playing Hollywood prognosticator.

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2022 3:04 PM ET Read Time: 5 min
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The 2022 Academy Awards were held in March and CODA came away as something of a surprise Best Picture winner after barely being in the conversation for much of the race. 

Needless to say, the early odds for 2023 Best Picture may not paint a perfect picture — especially since many of these movies haven't been seen yet — but there are several titles already garnering significant hype as the Summer movie season kicks into high gear.

And despite breaking bank at the box office, there's no sign of Top Gun: Maverick on the odds board.

Here are the early odds to win Best Picture in 2023.

Odds to win Best Picture

Movie Odds to win
Thirteen Lives +600
Killers of the Flower Moon +700
Amsterdam +700
She Said +900
Babylon +1,000
Rustin +1,000
The Woman King +1,200
Elvis +1,200
The Fablemans +1,400
The Son +1,400
Everything Everywhere All at Once +1,400
Empire of Light +1,600
Poor Things +1,600
Don't Worry Darling +1,800
The Killer +1,800
Nope +2,000
Red, White and Water +2,000
Bardo +2,200
White Noise +2,200
Next Goal Wins +2,500
The Banshees of Inisherin +2,500
Women Talking +2,500
The Color Purple +3,300
Blonde +4,000
Bones and All +4,000
The Northman +4,000
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever +4,000
Knives Out 2 +4,000
Spaceman +4,000
The Whale +4,000

Odds courtesy of PointsBet as of June 29, 2022.

Favorites to win Best Picture at the 2023 Academy Awards

Thirteen Lives (+600)

Based on a true story — which was chronicled in the excellent documentary The Rescue — Thirteen Lives chronicles the rescue of a Thai youth soccer club and its coach trapped in a cave over 18 days in 2018. Director Ron Howard, whose A Beautiful Mind won Best Picture and Best Director in 2002, is at the helm of this Amazon Prime release starring the likes of Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortensen, and Joel Edgerton. 

Early odds have it pegged as a slight betting favorite. True stories tend to do well, and this may have a bit of the same appeal something like Argo had in 2012. The film will debut on Amazon Prime on August 5.

Killers of the Flower Moon (+700)

No trailer has yet been released for Martin Scorsese's Apple TV+ epic based on David Grann's acclaimed work of nonfiction of the same name. It also only has a tentative release date of sometime in November, so there is a chance this doesn't even get released in 2022. That its odds are this short with such uncertainty around its status suggests that it might become the early frontrunner if and when a trailer and fall release date drop.

It stars Jesse Plemons, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert DeNiro, Lily Gladstone, and many others in a stacked cast and follows the early days of the FBI and the investigation into the Osage murders committed when oil was found on Native American land. 

Amsterdam (+700)

Like Killers of the Flower Moon, David O. Russell's follow-up to 2015's Joy hasn't had a trailer released, though it is slated to hit theatres on November 4. It's also a period piece and apparently follows three friends who become prime suspects in a murder case in the 1930s.

While Joy didn't find much critical success, the filmmaker directed three straight films that were nominated for Best Picture — The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, and American Hustle — so there is a longstanding relationship between Russell and the Academy. Also, the Oscars love star-studded films and this will be no slouch in that department with Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Rami Malek, Zoe Saldana, and Michael Shannon all among those in the cast.

She Said (+900)

Another true story, She Said is more of a contemporary, "ripped-from-the-headlines" story from director Maria Schrader (I'm Your Man). Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan star as New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, who exposed film producer Harvey Weinstein's lengthy history of sexual misconduct. The film is based on a 2019 book of the same name written by the two journalists.

She Said is scheduled to hit theaters on November 18. No trailer has yet been released.

Babylon (+1,000)

While a trailer for Damien Chazelle's first film since 2018's First Man was shown at CinemaCon in April, footage hasn't yet been made public. Another period piece, Babylon purportedly takes place in 1920s Hollywood as the silent film era starts to fade in favor of talkies. More will become clear once a trailer is released for the film that will hit limited theaters in late December.

Tobey Maguire, Margot Robbie, and Brad Pitt are among the A-list cast. 

Rustin (+1,000)

Colman Domingo (If Beale Street Could Talk, Zola) stars as gay and civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, the man who organized the 1963 March on Washington. Directed by George C. Wolfe (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom), Rustin appears to be the top Netflix film in the running early on. 

No concrete release date has been made available and a trailer has yet to be released. Domingo may not be a household name just yet, but he's a fantastic actor and could be in line for his first Oscar nomination. Joining Domingo in the cast are Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, and Audra McDonald.

How to bet on the Academy Awards

Unlike sports betting, betting on the Oscars has a lot fewer statistics and numbers to keep in mind. But similar to wagering on sports, there are historical trends, news, and narratives to follow if you want to better handicap your Academy Awards bets.

Know the voting system

Understanding how Oscars voting works is key to understanding who will be nominated and who will win. The Academy has over 8,000 members spread out over 17 branches. Each branch nominates for its own category; actors nominated for Best Actor, directors for Best Director etc. Every voter gets to nominate for the Best Picture Award and they also get to vote on every award once the nominations are in. 

In almost every award, the voters just choose their No. 1 choice, easy peasy right? Well, that's not how the Best Picture is chosen. For Best Picture, each voter chooses their favorite film in order of preference. The No. 1 choices are counted first and if one movie gets more than 50 percent of those votes, it's deemed the winner, but usually, the No. 2 and No. 3 choices have to be tallied as well.

What are the takeaways from this voting system? Since actors are the ones nominating their peers, not only does an actor have to do a great job to get a nomination, he or she has to be widely respected and probably well-liked as well. And because of the preferential voting for Best Picture, a movie that winds up at No. 2 or No. 3 on almost everyone's ballot can win the award if the No. 1 choice is split between several films. It's better to have a movie that most will rank in their Top 3 than a polarizing film that some voters have at No. 1 and others have near the bottom of their list. 

Winners keep on winning

The Oscars are the biggest name in the film industry awards circuit, but they aren't the first ones to hand out their hardware every year. The Golden Globe Awards are given out just after the new year, followed by the Screen Actor Guild (SAG) Awards, and then the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) in early February (Editor's Note: the awards schedule has been skewed in a COVID-stricken 2021 season). 

Movies and stars can often ride award-winning momentum into the Oscars. Films and actors that do well at these earlier award shows tend to also perform well at the Oscars. In 2020 for example, Joaquin Phoenix and Renee Zellweger swept the Best Actor and Best Actress awards across every major awards show. After each subsequent win, their odds to claim the Academy Award got better and the payout for bettors shrank. 

Follow the formula 

Some movie genres have historically done well with critics. These include war-time dramas, movies that explore race relations, films about the film industry (nobody ever said that Hollywood isn't vain), movies based on true stories, and scripts based on award-winning novels. 

While many view Argo (2012) as one of the weakest winners of the Best Picture Award, it fit into two of these categories since it was based on a true story and was about the film industry.  

Fitting into these genres is certainly no guarantee for Academy Award success, but it is a good barometer for whether or not a film has the right stuff to make it into Oscar contention.

Bet on big stars 

Let's be honest, hype also plays a major role in whether or not certain movies get the credit they deserve. Especially early in the Oscars process, sportsbooks will tend to give favorable lines towards movies with big-name directors and actors.

Just like annual sports betting favorites like the Yankees and Lakers, the biggest names in Hollywood tend to get the most handle and often do well during awards season. 

Cultural impact is key

Keep in mind the current cultural environment that these movies are being watched in. Themes tend to resonate more with audiences and critics if they are more relevant to current public discourse. That said, movies are also about escapism and in times of crisis, sometimes critics gravitate towards lighter fare.  

Academy Awards Odds FAQ

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