Predictions for the 2024 Oscars from a bettor’s perspective

Gambling veteran Hartley Henderson offers up his annual Oscars predctions and picks for who will win in every category

Oscars predictions for every category

Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the 2024 Oscars again after a successful broadcast last year. Kimmel provides a good routine and has the ability to roast some of the celebrities without being offensive, like other comedians who have taken on the role. I had a very good score with my Oscars predictions last year with 4 good upset wins. This year may be tougher since Oppenheimer is a massive favorite to sweep the main categories and if doesn’t do so, it will be a surprise. 96th Oscars predictions 2024Nevertheless, there are always at least a few good upset possibilities, particularly in the smaller categories.

So, let's start with the top Oscars categories. All odds are courtesy of BetOnline as of March 5th. Where BetOnline does not have odds, FanDuel odds were used instead.

Best Picture and Best Director

For quite some time this looked like a competitive year, but after Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, and The Holdovers, the three strongest contenders fell out of favor in this category and won none of the major awards after December, it was clear that Best Picture was going to be a runaway. Despite being shown in theatres quite some time ago, Oppenheimer, the long story of The Manhattan Project and the making of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Japan to end the World War II has become a virtual lock. It won the PGA Award, the SAG Award, the Golden Globe, the BAFTA Award and the list goes on. Similarly, Christopher Nolan won all the major awards for best director including the DGA Award, so it seems folly to look for an upset elsewhere, because it won’t happen.

Prediction: If you don’t mind very low odds, bet Oppenheimer at 1/16 to win Best Picture and Christopher Nolan at 1/33 odds to win best director.

Oscar predcitions 2024 Best actorBest Actor

Usually a competitive category, that isn’t the case this year. Cillian Murphy, who played J. Robert Oppenheimer, has won all the major awards including the SAG Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe, 15 critics awards and several smaller awards. The only awards he lost were the Saturn Awards and People’s Choice Awards, but they are more or less irrelevant to Oscars success. Paul Giamatti is given a shot by BetOnline at 15/4 odds for his role in The Holdovers, but it seems a fool’s bet to believe he can beat the favorite.

Prediction: Cillian Murphy at 1/14 odds will win this category.

Best Actress

Predictions 2024 Oscars Best ActressFinally, a competitive category, as this seems to be a two-way contest between Lily Gladstone for her performance in Killers of the Flower Moon and Emma Stone for her role in Poor Things. There was quite a bit of controversy after Margot Robbie did not receive a nomination for her role in Barbie, as she could have been a contender. Emma Stone won the BAFTA Award for best actress and the Golden Globe for actress in a comedy or musical, but has lost most of the big awards to Lily Gladstone, including most importantly the SAG Award. Every SAG winner went on to win the Oscar last year. Gladstone also won almost all the critics’ awards except surprisingly, the Critic’s Choice Award that went to Stone. This is a tough one, but I’m going to give it to the SAG Award winner just because it is the biggest predictor of Oscar success.

Prediction: Lily Gladstone at 5/13 odds should be a fairly clear winner.

Best Supporting Actor

This may be the biggest lock of the night excluding Best Supporting Actress and Best Director. prediction Best Supporting ActorRobert Downey Jr. has won every award leading up to the Oscars and there is no reason to believe he won’t easily win the Oscar too. Ryan Gosling is given a small chance at 7/1 odds for his role as Ken in Barbie, but Downey should be virtually impossible to beat in an evening that is going to see Oppenheimer challenge for the most awards ever won by a film.

Prediction: If you enjoy winning 3 cents on the dollar, bet Rober Downey Jr at 1/33 odds.

Best Supporting Actress

oscar pick best supporting actressThis looked really close between Da’vine Joy Randolph for The Holdovers and Emily Blunt for Oppenheimer until Randolph started sweeping all the lead-up awards. She has also become a media darling thanks to her over the top speeches when winning awards. It’s clear that those voting on the supporting actress award realized Oppenheimer was about Murphy and the other male actors that helped make the film a success and Blunt was more or less an extra. Danielle Brooks in The Color Purple actually has lower odds now than Blunt.

Prediction: Da’vine Joy Randolph is a sure thing at 1/40 odds.

Best Original Screenplay

The Writers Guild Award is the best predictor of which film will win the Oscar in this category. Two out of every three Writers Guild winners of this award since 2000 have won the Oscar and most times when a film does not win the Oscar it is because it wasn’t nominated. The WGA Awards this year aren’t being handed out until April, but it’s notable that the favorite, Anatomy of a Fall, a crime story about a writer trying to prove her husband's innocence, isn't even nominated for that award. The Holdovers, a comedy about a schoolteacher forced to chaperone kids on a Christmas trip, was supposed to be a big contender for all the awards, but other than Da’vine Joy Randolph, will likely win nothing. Anatomy of a Fall won the Golden Globe award for screenplay, the BAFTA award and a host of critics’ awards. But the fact it is a French film, not in English, and isn’t nominated for the WGA Awards has to have the film’s supporters worried. Anatomy of a Fall is 4/11 odds, while The Holdovers is 7/4 odds. The other films have little chance. It’s also notable that The Holdovers is 25/1 odds to win Best Picture while Anatomy of a Fall is 50/1.

Prediction: On the basis of the win at the BAFTA and the momentum the film has, I’ll predict Anatomy of a Fall at 4/11 odds will keep the chalk streak going.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Oscars picks betting oddsOnce again, the WGA Awards can't help predict this category since they aren’t being handed out until April. But all five options have a chance of winning. 

Zone of Interest, the UK film that won several BAFTA Awards at 16/1 would be a surprise, as would Poor Things at 10/1, but Barbie at 9/2, Oppenheimer at 29/10 and American Fiction at 1/2 all have a shot. American Fiction is the favorite after winning the BAFTA Award for adapted screenplay, but the film about a black writer who is chastised for novels that aren’t black enough may not be the worthy favorite. It won the Critic’s Choice Award as well as the BAFTA, but lost more critic’s awards than it won to Oppenheimer in the category. As for Barbie, it will win best song and possibly costume design, but this seems to be the only other real category it can win. And many times, the Academy likes to give the screenplay award to movies that will be shut out otherwise. But my hunch is the award will come down to American Fiction or Oppenheimer and if my suspicion is correct Oppenheimer will take this award as it looks to run away with all the major awards excluding the Best Actress and Supporting Actress categories.

Prediction: Oppenheimer at 29/10 (almost 3 to 1 odds) seems to be the value play in this category.

Best Animated Feature

This is a two-way race between Spider Man: Across the Spider Verse and The Boy and the Heron. Spider Man won the Annie Award, which is the animation industry’s big prize, and it won the Producer’s Guild Award. But the Boy and The Heron won both the BAFTA and the Golden Globe Award. More importantly, movies based on superheroes (even animated) do not generally do that well at the Oscars, whereas movies like the Boy and the Heron, a Japanese animated film about a heron that helps a family flee a disaster does. This is likely the closest race of the night.

Prediction: The Boy and the Heron at even money odds will beat Spider Man: Across the Spider Verse in a mild upset.

Best Original Song

Usually, one of my favorite Oscar categories, whenever I get ready to predict this category, I log onto YouTube and listen to each song. I look at who sings the songs, since more famous artists have an advantage. And lastly, I look at accolades given to the songs elsewhere. This year, in all instances one song stood out and that is What Was I Made For from the movie Barbie. In fact, the only real upset possibility is I’m Just Ken from the same movie. What Was I Made For is written and sung by Billie Eilish, an accomplished Grammy winner, whereas I’m Just Ken is by actor Ryan Gosling. That should put the former song over the top.

Prediction: What Was I Made For will win at 1/10 odds.

Best International Feature Film

This category is always a good upset possibility, but not this year. The Zone of Interest at 1/50 is the shortest price of all the awards and will win. It probably shouldn’t though, since I don’t consider the UK a foreign film, but it is mostly in Polish, German and Yiddish since it’s based on the holocaust, so it makes sense. Still, it was better described when the award was called best foreign language film.

Prediction: The Zone of Interest is a sure thing at 1/50 odds.

Best Film Editing

The Film Editing Award (Eddie) is a great predictor of Oscar success, and that makes Oppenheimer at 1/5 odds as the clear favorite. Anatomy of a Fall at 4/1 and Killers of the Flower Moon at 8/1 aren’t completely out of it, but would be a surprise. Oppenheimer won the award at the Eddie Awards, which is the industry award for this category, the BAFTA Award, and pretty much all other awards that offer this category.

Prediction: Look for Oppenheimer to continue its sweep with a win here at 1/5 odds.

Best Cinematography

Prediction: Oppenheimer at 1/33 odds is a sure thing in this category too. Let’s move on.

Best Production Design

The award that is given for how a film looks rarely goes to the Best Picture winner. The best predictor for this category is the Art Directors Guild Awards which hands out awards for contemporary film and fantasy film. Those awards went to Oppenheimer (12/1 odds) for Period Film and Poor Things (10/13) for Fantasy Film. The BAFTA award went to Poor Things as well. Nevertheless, Barbie (10/11 odds) was supposed to be the film to beat in this category and there is still some belief that the Academy, unlike the Art Directors, will give the award to Barbie for its cinematic success. Sarah Greenwood, who is the art director for Barbie, has been nominated six times previously, but didn’t win a single time. So, the question is whether the Academy will want to make up for it by handing her the award this time or whether they’ll give her a 7th consecutive loss? Barbie probably should win the award given the look and success of the movie, but Poor Things is just more highly regarded as a true academy worthy film, plus it won almost all the production design awards leading up to this.

Prediction: I’ll predict Poor Things will win for Production Design at 10/13 odds.

Best Sound

(1 to 2 odds) won the Audio Society Award and the Motion Picture Sound Editors Award, but the BAFTA Award went to The Zone of Interest (3/2 odds). That film actually lost the Sound Editors Award for foreign film. Maestro (8/1) is the only outsider with a chance. The question here is whether the Academy will give the award to the loudest film (Oppenheimer) or the movie whose sound provided the most emotional effect (The Zone of Interest). Many would suggest that a film about the Atomic Bomb is the obvious choice, but many critics and sound experts say that it is because of the sound that The Zone of Interest is so heralded. Oppenheimer will sweep most of the awards, but this is a chance to give the UK film that outperformed at the BAFTAs a chance to get some glory at the Oscars aside from International Film.

Prediction: I'm going to take The Zone of Interest at 3/2 odds to provide a mild upset.

Best Score

Oppenheimer has won every award for score leading up to this and will win the Academy Award as well.

Prediction: Oppenheimer at 1/12 odds is a lock.

Best Documentary Feature

Navalny won the award last year and speculation is that 20 Days in Mariupol, a film about the Ukraine-Russia war will win this year too. At 1/10 odds it seems like a good chance. The question is whether the Academy will look elsewhere given that the Ukraine war has fallen off the radar somewhat and there are some conservative Academy voters who will look elsewhere. Four Daughters and Bobi Wine: The People's President, both at 8/1 odds seem to be the best upset chance. 20 Days in Mariupol won the BAFTA, but Bobi Wine did win the IDA Award in December, which is the industry award for documentaries. It is notable that of the three films, only 20 Days in Mariupol was nominated for the Producers Guild Award in this category and lost to an unnominated film.

Prediction: I’m looking for one award to pay more than 3/1 odds and this is the best chance. I’ll take Bobi Wine: The People’s President to produce an 8/1 upset.

Best Visual Effects

It’s surprising that neither Oppenheimer, which had all visual effects, nor Poor Things, which won the BAFTA Award for visual effects, was nominated. Instead, there were a lot of lesser-known movies nominated. Godzilla Minus One, a Japanese film has been acclaimed for its visual effects but has really not won anything, while The Creator, a sci-fi film, won the Visual Effects Society Award. Godzilla Minus One is 3/5 odds, while The Creator is 5/4 odds. The other films, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part 3, and Napoleon would be stunners.<

Prediction: I’ll go with the VES Awards and predict that The Creator will win the award at 5/4 odds.

Best Costume Design

This is a two-way race between Barbie at 1/2 and Poor Things at 5/4 odds. The Costume Designers Guild gave the award to Poor Things for period film and Barbie for fantasy film, so that didn’t help. Barbie won the Critic’s Choice Awards and several critics’ awards, but Poor Things won the BAFTA Award as well as several critics’ choice awards. Barbie was a fun film but was clearly never going to be taken seriously, while Poor Things is highly regarded and could have pulled an upset as best picture if not for Oppenheimer.

Prediction:  I’m predicting this one solely based on the odds. At 5/4 odds I’ll take Poor Things to continue its success after the BAFTAs and win the award for costume design.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Maestro at 1/3 odds is the favorite followed by Poor Things at 9/5 odds. The others have little chance. Maestro won the Make-Up Artists and Hairstyling Guild Award, while Poor Things won the BAFTA. The Make-Up Artists and Hairstyling Guild Awards has a 100% success rate in predicting Oscars success (albeit they have several categories), and there is no reason to believe it will be different this year since Poor Things won none of its awards. It has also been suggested that most Academy voters don’t bother casting a ballot here since they feel the guild should pick the winner.

Prediction: Maestro at 1/3 odds will win its only award here.

Short Films

As usual for these films I turn to my friend who is a self-described expert in the area of Short Films and has a good record. His predictions are The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (1/12 odds) for live action short, The Last Repair Shop (9/4 odds) for documentary short and Letter to a Pig (1/1 odds) for animated short.

Read insights from Hartley Henderson every week here at OSGA and check out Hartley's RUMOR MILL!

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