Two weeks ago
Feb 7, 2020

Oscars 2020 betting preview and predictions

92nd Academy Awards preview

Oscars 2020 Best Picture and Best Director odds

Best Actor and Best Actress predictions

Where is the value for bettors?

Oscars 2020 betting preview and predictions

The stars of the silver screen are readying themselves for the 92nd Academy Awards on February 9, when it will be announced who has won the biggest prizes in film this year. So who are the favourites, what nominees could represent good value and what should bettors keep an eye on? Read on to ensure that your predictions can make the most of Oscars season.

Oscars 2020 build-up

The early coverage for this year’s ceremony has focused on two major components: the absence of an overall host and a perceived lack of female representation and ethnic variety amongst the nominees.

The Oscars opted not to have a permanent host for the first time since 1989 last year, after original choice Kevin Hart stepped down amidst homophobia accusations. They have chosen to maintain this approach for 2020, with ABC’s Karey Burke stating that the show will instead aim for “huge entertainment values, big musical numbers, comedy and star power”.

There was controversy as no women were nominated for Best Director, meaning over the last ten years 49 out of the category’s 50 nominees have been men. Many critics felt that Greta Gerwig, Lulu Hang and Marielle Heller were unlucky to miss out for Little Women, The Farewell and A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood respectively.

Meanwhile, all but one of the 20 nominees in the four acting categories are white, prompting a revival of the #OscarsSoWhite outcry that dominated the headlines in 2015 and 2016.

Arguably the biggest omission is Awkafina, who failed to earn a nomination as Best Supporting Actress for The Farewell despite winning a Golden Globe in the Musical and Comedy section of the same category at the start of the month. Lupita Nyong’o was also surprisingly excluded from Best Actress for Us, which unexpectedly garnered no nominations whatsoever.

Best Picture odds

Film

Odds*

Total nominations

Box office gross (as of February 7)

1917

1.389

10

$253.1 million

Parasite

3.770

6

$165.4 million

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

8.650

10

$374 million

Joker

15.240

11

$1.072 billion

The Irishman

73.530

10

$8 million (Netflix release)

Jojo Rabbit

109.570

6

$65.5 million

Marriage Story

109.570

6

$2.3 million (Netflix release)

Little Women

145.600

6

$164.6 million

Ford v Ferrari

289.750

4

$222.2 million

Major award winners this year:

  • Golden Globes (Best Drama Film)1917
  • Golden Globes (Best Musical or Comedy Film)Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Critics’ Choice AwardsOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • BAFTAs1917

Sam Mendes’ war epic 1917 (1.389*) is the favourite, with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (3.770*), which could give director Quentin Tarantino the first Academy Award Best Picture win of his career, sitting closely behind. The two films have shared the major Best Picture awards thus far this year and received the joint-second most nominations overall.

Recent years have dictated that being the favourite to win this category is somewhat dangerous terrority. In 2017, critics were almost unanimous that La La Land would win Best Picture only for it to lose to Moonlight, whereas last year Roma was as short as 1.321 to take the award, but was pipped by Green Book on the night.

Netflix have two opportunities to take the top gong for the first time with The Irishman and Marriage Story.

Another firm contender is Parasite (8.650*), which has the opportunity to be the first ever foreign language film to win the award. Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean black comedy-thriller was the highest rated film in 2019 on Metacritic and has the backing of commentators who feel that the awards need to work harder to represent films outside of the US and Europe.

The Best Picture nomination was one of eleven earned by Joker (15.240*), the most at this year’s ceremony. It is only the second comic book movie to land one in the category, following Black Panther two years ago.

However, the film has been targeted by Oscar critics who consider it a prime example of what has been described as the ‘white misogyny’ overshadowing this year’s nominations. This means there could be a reluctance to give Joker the award at a time when the ceremony’s representation efforts are under intense scrutiny.

After surprisingly missing out with Roma last year, Netflix have two further opportunities to take the top gong for the first time with The Irishman (73.530*) and Marriage Story (109.570*).

The former can boast the clout of Oscar veterans Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino amongst its cast and crew, although its 209-minute running time earned some criticism. Meanwhile, some critics feel that the latter’s November release was too late to earn enough hype to be in the running.

Outsiders this year include edgy comedy Jojo Rabbit (109.570*), Little Women (145.600*) and Ford v Ferrari (289.750*), a drama about the 1966 Le Mans race. With all three films currently priced at over 100.00, there would have to be significant unforeseen developments in the lead-up to the ceremony to prompt the momentum required for any to stand a chance of winning.

Best Director odds

Director

Film

Odds*

Sam Mendes

1917

1.125

Bong Joon-ho

Parasite

5.770

Quentin Tarantino

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

18.650

Martin Scorsese

The Irishman

37.340

Todd Phillips

Joker

73.980

Major award winners this year:

  • Golden Globes – Sam Mendes
  • Critics’ Choice Awards – Sam Mendes and Bong Joon-ho (Tie)
  • Directors Guild of America Awards – Sam Mendes
  • BAFTAs – Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes (1.125*) is favourite to win Best Director for a second time, having previously collected the award in 2000 for American Beauty. His film 1917 features intense action sequences including approximately 500 extras, but more impressively uses long takes and choreographed moving camera shots to give the effect of one continuous take.

This innovative approach to filmmaking has bred success at the Academy Awards before, most notably when Alejandro G. Inarritu won this category in 2015 for Birdman. Mendes will also be buoyed by the fact that the previous three Best Director winners also took the Golden Globes and Critics Choice awards beforehand, something he achieved earlier this year.

The controversy surrounding Joker is again considered a likely barrier to award success on this front.

Mendes’ closest challenger appears to be Bong Joon-ho (5.770*), with whom he shared this year’s Golden Globes award. Joon-ho’s direction in Parasite received widespread praise for simultaneously balancing comedy and drama and exploring grounded social themes including economic divides.

As arguably the least well-known of the five nominees, Joon-ho has also notably received the most attention from the film press in recent weeks. He has been commended for his comments encouraging Western cinemagoers to explore more foreign films and not be “afraid of the subtitles”, and would certainly be a popular winner.

Quentin Tarantino’s (18.650*) decision to depict Los Angeles in 1969 without the use of CGI was acclaimed for achieving stunning backdrops in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, although not for the first time his portrayal of female characters was branded by some as sexist and undeveloped.

Meanwhile, seventh-time nominee Martin Scorsese (37.340*) was praised for the effectiveness of the various styles utilised in The Irishman to show different periods during its story set over a period of 40 years. Although, as previously mentioned, certain critics labelled the film as bloated and struggling to justify its lengthy running time.

The firm outsider is Joker’s Todd Phillips (73.980*). The 48-year-old who was previously established as a comedy director was applauded for his transition into a more serious and darker film, although his recent criticism of ‘woke culture’ failed to earn plaudits and the controversy surrounding Joker is again considered a likely barrier to award success on this front.

Acting awards odds

Best Actor

Best Actress

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actress

Joaquin Phoenix - Joker
(1.020*)

Renee Zellweger - Judy
(1.052*)

Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
(1.022*)

Laura Dern – Marriage Story
(1.057*)

Adam Driver – Marriage Story
(10.670*)

Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
(9.760*)

Joe Pesci – The Irishman
(13.090*)

Margot Robbie – Bombshell
(12.440*)

Leonardo DiCaprio – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
(28.010*)

Cynthia Erivo – Harriet
(22.820*)

Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood
(27.840*)

Florence Pugh – Little Women
(16.460*)

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
(43.960*)

Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
(30.370*)

Al Pacino – The Irishman
(27.840*)

Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
(24.160*)

Jonathan Pryce – The Two Popes
(54.950*)

Charlize Theron – Bombshell
(44.460*)

Anthony Hopkins – The Two Popes
(42.550*)

Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
(46.960*)

Major award winners this year (Golden Globes*, Critics’ Choice Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards and BAFTAs):

  • Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
  • Best Actress: Renee Zellweger – Judy
  • Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern – Marriage Story

*Drama acting categories at the Golden Globes.

All four of the acting categories feature overwhelming favourites who have suitably won all the other major awards on this front during the last couple of weeks.

Joaquin Phoenix’s (1.020*) portrayal of the Joker was commended by critics and audiences alike, and arguably aided by the fact that it was more warmly received than Jared Leto’s turn in the role in the 2016 film Suicide Squad. Adam Driver’s (10.670*) moving depiction of a father going through a divorce in Marriage Story is arguably his only palpable contender, and drew comparisons to Dustin Hoffman’s acting in Kramer vs. Kramer which earned the gong in 1980.

In the most star-studded Best Supporting Actor line-up of recent years, Brad Pitt is heavily predicted to win.

Renee Zellweger (1.052*) was immediately tipped for Best Actress following the release of Judy, with reviews labelling her portrayal of icon Judy Garland as “the performance of the year” and a “stellar stage-stomping performance”.

Once again, the stars of Marriage Story provide the closest competition, with Scarlett Johansson (9.760*) praised for her depiction of an emotionally conflicted mother torn between her devotion to her ex-husband and her own wants and desires. Little Women’s Saoirse Ronan is considered a dark horse by some at 30.370*.

In arguably the most star-studded Best Supporting Actor line-up of recent years, Brad Pitt (1.022*) is heavily predicted to win for his portrayal of enigmatic stuntman Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Joe Pesci (13.090*) edges Al Pacino (27.840*) for their gritty performances as Russell Bufalino and Jimmy Hoffa respectively in The Irishman.

Tom Hanks (27.840*) was also lauded as Fred Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood, although both the film and his performance received some criticism for skirting over Rogers’ religious influences.

In yet another nomination for Marriage Story, Laura Dern’s (1.057*) turn as ruthless lawyer Nora Fanshaw leads the market for Best Supporting Actress. Margot Robbie (12.440*) has become a late contender for her role as Kayla Pospisil in Bombshell, which focuses on the real-life story of a group of women attempting to expose sexual harassment at a news station.

The increasingly popular Florence Pugh is available at 16.460* whilst Scarlett Johansson is 24.160* for her second acting nomination this year, this time as the anti-Nazi single mother Rosie Betzler in Jojo Rabbit. Kathy Bates (46.960*), arguably the most surprising inclusion amongst the four categories, is the outsider for her portrayal of Barbara “Bobi” Jewell in Richard Jewell.

You can see all the latest Oscars odds for this year's awards here.

Odds subject to change

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