The Best Picture Odds Tighten Up, And The Best Actress Field Has New Favorite

Jessica Chastain has become the betting favorite following her SAG win, and CODA is making a run
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Oscar season is about to heat up, kick into high gear, and hit every other cliche in the coming weeks prior to the March 27 Academy Awards telecast.

The “why” is pretty straightforward — this Saturday brings the Director’s Guild of America (DGA) awards, Sunday offers the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards, and the following Sunday is the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) award ceremony.

In short: Whichever films and actors win the iron at those events are going to see their odds shorten up — at least in the handful of states where sportsbooks are allowed to offer Oscars markets — while the losers will undoubtedly see their odds tumble.

It’s already happened with the Screen Actors Guild awards, which were announced in February. The biggest mover was Jessica Chastain, who won for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. She went from a +500 Best Actress underdog to a now +130 favorite on PointsBet.

Additionally, the Best Supporting Actor SAG winner, Troy Kotsur of CODA, saw his odds tumble from +333 down to as low as -110 at Caesars (though he can still be had for +130 at FanDuel). And CODA itself — after taking home the “outstanding cast” trophy at the SAG Awards — saw its Best Picture odds move from +2000 to +1000 on FanDuel.

Clearly, if CODA and Kotsur continue their winning ways at the DGAs, BAFTAs, and WGAs, their odds are going to fall even more dramatically.

So with that in mind, here’s a look at the maybes, the could-bes, and the sure things as the calendar barrels toward “ … and the winner is.”

Best Actress

This is undoubtedly the most up-in-the-air category right now. Chastain jumped to the head of the pack with her SAG win, but all five nominees are very much live right now. The best odds for each: Nicole Kidman at +165 on PointsBet for her role in Being the Ricardos; Kristen Stewart at +450 on DraftKings for her role in Spencer; Olivia Coleman at +450 at Caesars for her role in The Lost Daughter; and Penelope Cruz at +2200 at Caesars for her turn in Parallel Mothers. An interesting wrinkle: None of these actresses are nominated for a BAFTA, which means any odds movement in the coming weeks is going to be strictly based on betting action and not on any news. It’s a wide open field.

Best Picture

The Power of the Dog was the pre-Oscar nomination favorite at +170, it went to -155 the day after the nominations were announced, and is currently sitting as high as -250 at PointsBet. Clearly, the film is the odds-on favorite. But a lot can change over the next few weeks, and plenty of buzz is surrounding the feel-good story of CODA, while Belfast (+350 at PointsBet) is hanging around as the second choice, and West Side Story, at +1100 on DraftKings, is jockeying with CODA for the third choice.

Still, plenty can happen here. The Power of the Dog and Belfast are both nominated for top honors at the BAFTAs, Jane Campion and Kenneth Branagh are both nominated for Best Director at the DGAs, and CODA is up for Best Adapted Screenplay at the WGAs. If any of these films and directors win awards here, you’ll see the Best Picture odds shorten up as well. One element that really might help CODA is the ranked-choice nature of the voting. As the season’s slam-dunk feel good film — it’s about a deaf family, their fishing business, and their one daughter who can hear and has a passion for singing — it’s bound to be high on nearly everyone’s list. 

Best Supporting Actor

It’s a two-man race between Kotsur and Kodi Smit-McPhee from The Power of the Dog. Smit-McPhee was a -300 favorite before the SAGs, and now is as low as -120 at Caesars. They are both nominated for BAFTAs.

Outside of those three categories, the odds would indicate there aren’t many big surprises awaiting movie fans on Oscars night in the big categories.

The favorites in other categories

For Best Actor, Will Smith has maintained his stranglehold at the top for his turn in King Richard. The best odds are at FanDuel (-350) and he’s all the way up to -500 at Caesars. Benedict Cumberbatch is next on the list at +300 across the board for his role in The Power of the Dog.

Best Supporting Actress is a foregone conclusion, it would seem, with Ariana DeBose the clear favorite for her role in West Side Story. She’s at -600 at DraftKings and -667 at PointsBet, and FanDuel and Caesars are not even offering markets on the award right now.

Campion is an even heavier favorite for Best Director for The Power of the Dog. Best odds for her right now are at FanDuel, where she is at -750. 

For those of you looking for a full menu of bets, DraftKings offers the most markets by far, with 23. Sharpen those makeup and hairstyling chops if planning on wading into those waters.

Photo: Shutterstock

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