Oscars 2021 Odds, Picks and Betting Update: Trial of Chicago 7 Surges

The 93rd edition of the Academy Awards is tonight, and we've got the latest betting news, updated odds and picks to win the major categories.

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2021 2:00 PM ET
Oscars Red Carpet
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Academy Awards betting odds have shifted significantly throughout awards season and the 2021 Oscars odds are heating up, as the Academy Awards hand out the hardware tonight in Los Angeles.

We give our best Oscars picks and predictions for the major categories and track the betting action pouring in at the sportsbooks, such as DraftKings which is offering Oscars betting in three different states.

"Action has been good," DraftKings director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello said, noting DK has Academy Awards odds up in New Jersey, Indiana and Michigan. "We're doing 24 categories, and most categories have some bets. And it'll pick up this weekend. We're keeping it open until the show starts."

Chloe Zhao's Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand and based on a 2017 non-fiction book, continues to be at the top of the Best Picture odds (-590) after Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director wins at the Golden Globes.

As for Academy Awards winner odds for the Best Actor and Best Actress categories, Chadwick Boseman has posthumously grown to a massive favorite at -1,667 (and he was a significantly bigger favorite than that in the weeks before) for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, while Carey Mulligan's performance in Promising Young Woman has earned her top odds on the women's side (+125).

We bring you the current Oscars betting odds for the major categories and give you a rundown on how to bet on the Academy Awards.  

Odds to win Best Picture

Movie Odds to win Best Picture
Nomadland -590
The Trial of the Chicago 7 +600
Minari +1,400
Promising Young Woman +2,000
Judas and the Black Messiah +3,300
Mank +3,300
Sound of Metal +5,000
The Father +8,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Picture action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: No surprise, Nomadland remains the strong favorite at DraftKings as of Sunday afternoon. However, the price has shortened since Friday, from -670 to -590, with the film taking just 8 percent of bets and 13 percent of money for Best Picture. Also since Friday, although The Trial of the Chicago 7 hasn't moved off +600, the second choice has ticked from 17 to 20 percent in the ticket count and made a notable jump in money, from 19 to 26 percent, good for second in both tickets and money.

Minari (+1,400)  tops the field in both tickets and money, at 25 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Judas and the Black Messiah (+3,300) is third in tickets (17 percent) and fourth in money (11 percent).

"It's interesting that Nomadland is our favorite," DK director of sportsbook operations Johnny Avello said. "I think if an upset comes in this category, it's from The Trial of the Chicago 7. But Minari is taking most of the bets and the money. I think bettors are taking a shot on that 14/1 price."

Pick to win Best Picture

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (+600)

After Nomadland won for best Drama at the Golden Globes it saw its Oscars odds soar all the way up to -291. However, the recipients of the two awards often don't match up. Of the last 16 winners of this award, only four of them also won the Globe for Drama, while another (Green Book in 2018) received the Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. 

So don't count out the second favorite on the odds board. Aaron Sorkin's latest flick about the importance of protest in a democracy ticks a lot of boxes for past Academy Award winners: a well-recognized ensemble cast, strong performances, an engaging narrative, and cultural relevance.

Odds to win Best Actor

Actor Odds to win Best Actor
Chadwick Boseman -1,167
Anthony Hopkins +700
Riz Ahmed +1,400
Steven Yeun +2,500
Gary Oldman +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Actor action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Chadwick Boseman is a massive -1,667 favorite at DraftKings for his work in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. And although Boseman is getting just 17 percent of tickets (third), those bets account for 65 percent of the money in the Best Actor market, almost three times as much as any of the other four nominees. Should tonight's ceremony follow the money, Boseman would be honored posthumously, as he died of cancer last August, at age 43.

Anthony Hopkins (+700), who starred in The Father, is the ticket-count leader at 43 percent – up 6 percent since Friday – and is second in money at 23 percent, a 4 percent boost since Friday. Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) is second in tickets (20 percent) and a distant third in money (7 percent), at +1,400 odds.

"Boseman is 1/16, and he's got all the money," Avello said. "Anthony Hopkins was fabulous in The Father, but I don't think anybody really has a chance to win other than Boseman."

Pick to win Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman (-1,667)

Boseman is practically a sure thing to posthumously win for Best Actor after he tragically passed away in August. The 43-year-old had the range, charisma, and acting chops to be a force in Hollywood for decades, and his performance in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is well-deserving of accolades.

At this price, however, there's no reason to bother playing this and I'm honestly surprised most books haven't pulled this bet yet. 

Odds to win Best Actress

Actress Odds to win Best Actress
Carey Mulligan +125
Viola Davis +200
Frances McDormand +400
Andra Day +600
Vanessa Kirby +2,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Actress action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: This is easily the most competitive of the major categories, with Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman) a modest +125 chalk at DraftKings. Since Friday, Mulligan has dropped from first in ticket count at 29 percent to third at 21 percent, and although she still leads in money at 37 percent, that's down from 56 percent Friday.

Viola Davis is the +200 second choice for her efforts in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, and she's first in ticket count and second in money, at 32 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Davis' ticket count is up 6 percent and money 7 percent since Friday. Frances McDormand (Nomadland) is the +400 third choice and is second in tickets (25 percent) and third in money (20 percent), followed by Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday), who at +600 is seeing 19 percent of bets/12 percent of money.

"This is a wider-open category," DraftKings' Johnny Avello said. "I think this category is a prime one for an upset. I think there's great value in Andra Day at 6/1 and that Viola Davis has a shot at 2/1."

Pick to win Best Actress

Carey Mulligan (+125)

Andra Day was the surprise winner for Best Actress at the Golden Globes, cashing in at +1,800 for her portrayal of Billie Holiday. While Day still has good value at +600 to win the Oscar, I think it's Mulligan's time to shine, especially when you consider the mixed reviews that The United States vs. Billie Holiday received 

Promising Young Woman seemingly came out of nowhere (aka the Sundance Film Festival) to emerge with critical acclaim, picking up five nominations at the Oscars. Mulligan carried the film with a scene-stealing performance that was equal parts empowering, hilarious, and tear-jerking.  

Odds to win Best Adapted Screenplay

Movie Odds to win Best Adapted Screenplay
Nomadland -400
The Father +300
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm +800
One Night In Miami +1,400
The White Tiger +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Animated Feature Film

Movie Odds to win Best Animated Feature Film
Soul -5,000
Wolfwalkers +700
Onward +2,500
Over the Moon +2,800
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon +4,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Director

Director Odds to win Best Director
Chloe Zhao -3,335
David Fincher +1,000
Lee Isaac Chung +1,700
Emerald Fennell +2,000
Thomas Vinterberg +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Director action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: "This is the biggest favorite of the major six categories," DraftKings' Johnny Avello said, noting Nomadland director Chloe Zhao is massive -3,335 chalk. Over the weekend, Zhao has seen a massive boost in percentage of money in this market, from 19 percent, which was third, to 72 percent, 6.5 times more than any other nominee. Zhao is taking 24 percent of tickets.

Lee Isaac Chung (Minari) is the +1,700 third choice, leading the ticket count at 30 percent and sitting tied with David Fincher (Mank) for second in money at 11 percent. Fincher is the +1,000 second choice and is tied with Zhao at 24 percent of tickets.

"Betting on Chung for Minari makes a little sense. There's a correlation of people betting Minari to win Best Picture and Minari to win Best Director," Avello said. "Fincher did a great directing job in Mank. But I'd be absolutely shocked if Zhao doesn't win it."

Pick to win Best Director 

Chloe Zhao (-3,335)

While I don't think Nomadland will necessarily win for Best Picture, I do think director Chloe Zhao takes home this award. Unfortunately so do the oddsmakers who have moved her odds all the way to -3,335. 

There's no value with Zhao, but if you're interested in backing a live long shot David Fincher (+1,000) has a chance for Mank, a biopic about the making of Citizen Kane. The film itself is a bit plodding, but Fincher's direction is sharp and after a highly-acclaimed career with two previous unsuccessful nominations for this category, it might be his time this year. 

Odds to win Best Documentary Feature

Movie Odds to win Best Documentary Feature
My Octopus Teacher -500
Time +400
Collective +800
Crip Camp +2,000
The Mole Agent +5,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best International Film

Movie Odds to win Best International Film
Another Round -1,250
Quo Vadis, Aida? +650
Collective +1,200
Better Days +2,500
The Man Who Sold His Skin +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Original Screenplay

Movie Odds to win Best Original Screenplay
Promising Young Woman -455
The Trial of the Chicago 7 +275
Minari +1,400
Judas and the Black Messiah +3,300
Sound of Metal +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Supporting Actor

Actor Odds to win Best Supporting Actor
Daniel Kaluuya -2,500
Paul Raci +1,200
Sacha Baron Cohen +1,200
Leslie Odom Jr. +1,700
LaKeith Stanfield +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Supporting Actor action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: This category has another huge favorite in Daniel Kaluuya, who is -2,500 at DraftKings for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya is seeing just 15 percent of bets (fourth), but leads in money at 61 percent to win Best Supporting Actor, more than three times the cash of any other nominee. Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7) is the +1,200 co-second choice and is first in ticket count (29 percent) and second in money (19 percent).

"I think Kaluuya will win this. He's won everything else leading up to this. I don't see anyone beating him out," DK's Johnny Avello said.

Pick to win Best Supporting Actor

Paul Raci (+1,200)

Another big favorite this time with Daniel Kaluuya as the expected winner for his portrayal of former Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in Judas and the Black Messiah. However, I could see an upset in this spot with Kaluuya's co-star from Judas, Lakeith Stanfield, also being nominated and possibly splitting votes. 

I said "co-star" because both actors actually seemed like the leads in that movie. Don't be surprised if the Academy ends up selecting somebody who better fits the bill of "supporting actor" like Paul Raci who gives a stirring performance as a Vietnam vet who runs a shelter for hearing-impaired addicts in Sound of Metal. 

Odds to win Best Supporting Actress

Actress Odds to win Best Supporting Actress
Youn Yuh-jung -500
Maria Bakalova +375
Glenn Close +1,000
Olivia Coleman +2,000
Amanda Seyfried +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Covers Writer IconBest Supporting Actress action report
By Patrick Everson

UPDATE 2 P.M. ET SUNDAY: Youn Yoh-jung (Minari), the -500 favorite at DraftKings, leads in tickets (27 percent) and is lapping the field in money at 58 percent, three times more than any of the other four nominees. Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm) is the +375 second choice and is taking 26 percent of tickets/19 percent of money.

"With Best Supporting Actor/Best Supporting Actress, there's always a chance for an upset," Avello said. "If there is an upset, it's probably gonna be Bakalova winning."

Pick to win Best Supporting Actress

Youn Yuh-jung (-500)

This was the only major category where you could take the favorite at plus money, but Youn Yuh-jung is now way ahead of Maria Bakalova on the odds board at -500 odds. Bakalova might be tempting at +375 after she won the Critics Choice for Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, but the Golden Globes went to Jodie Foster, who wasn't even nominated for the Oscars, so momentum might not be enough to carry Bakalova to another win. 

Our money is on Youn, the famous Korean actress who was also nominated in this category across the Critics' Choice, BAFTAs, and SAGs. Youn played the role of the grandmother in Minari, a drama about a family of immigrants from South Korea adapting to life in rural Arkansas. While technically a supporting role, the grandmother, Soon-ja, is in many ways the heart and soul of the movie.

Odds to win Best Original Song

Song Odds to win Best Original Song
Speak Now -155
Io Si +225
Husavik +350
Fight for You +2,500
Hear My Voice +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Original Score

Movie Odds to win Best Original Score
Soul -1,667
Mank +800
Minari +1,700
Da 5 Bloods +2,500
News of the World +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Cinematography

Movie Odds to win Best Cinematography
Nomadland -400
Mank +350
News of the World +1,400
Judas and the Black Messiah +1,700
The Trial of the Chicago 7 +2,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Film Editing

Movie Odds to win Best Film Editing
Sound of Metal -118
The Trial of the Chicago 7 -110
Nomadland +650
The Father +2,000
Promising Young Woman +4,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Production Design

Movie Odds to win Best Production Design
Mank -560
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom +650
Tenet +800
News of the World +2,000
The Father +2,000

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Animated Short

Movie Odds to win Best Animated Short
If Anything Happens I Love You -335
Opera +450
Burrow +650
Genius Loci +1,000
Yes-People +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Documentary Short Subject

Movie Odds to win Best Documentary Short Subject
A Love Song for Latasha -250
A Concerto is a Conversation +350
Colette +1,000
Hunger Ward +1,200
Do Not Split +1,400

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Live Action Short

Movie Odds to win Best Live Action Short
The Letter Room -167
Two Distant Strangers +150
Feeling Through +1,200
The Present +1,200
White Eye +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Costume Design

Movie Odds to win Best Costume Design
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom -500
Emma +350
Mank +1,000
Pinocchio +2,500
Mulan +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Movie Odds to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom -670
Pinocchio +550
Hillbilly Elegy +1,200
Mank +2,000
Emma +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Sound

Movie Odds to win Best Sound
Sound of Metal -2,500
Mank +1,000
Soul +1,000
Greyhound +2,000
News of the World +3,300

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

Odds to win Best Visual Effects

Movie Odds to win Best Visual Effects
Tenet -560
The Midnight Sky +275
Mulan +1,700
Love and Monsters +2,500
The One and Only Ivan +2,500

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook on April 19, 2021.

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 nominate 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 Oscars 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.  

Where can I bet on Oscars odds?

Although Las Vegas does not allow betting on the Oscars, many online sportsbooks and mobile apps provide odds for the Academy Awards usually under the categories of "entertainment" or "specials". Check out your Oscars betting options at the best sportsbooks available where you live. 

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