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Oscar Night Gambling Guide – Let’s Make Some Money!

Gambling Guide

We’re all movie fans here. Oscar night is fun and we look forward to it every year. But do you know what makes fun things even more fun? Betting on those fun things and making some money. That’s why we’re here today.

Of course, when it comes to gambling nothing is a sure thing. Think you have a line on a “hot tip?” Think again. You’re sure you know something the oddsmakers don’t? Wrong. But there are still ways to at least lower the degree risk. You just need to know where to look. And that’s where I come in.

I’ve looked back at the last 30 years of Academy Awards to see what kind of trends appear, what kind of corresponding nominations and wins we can look at to guide our betting. Make the most informed (and responsible!) bets we can, have a little fun, and hopefully win a little money while we’re at it.

First, a quick once-over on how the betting works, for those of you who may be newcomers. If you don’t need this primer, click here to go straight to the categories.

The odds listed are based on values of $100. A positive number (+150) means the betting pick is less likely to win, making the payout in your favor. In this example, a bet of $100 would net a profit of $150.

A negative number (-150) means that selection is more likely to win, thus the payout is not in your favor. Here, you would need to bet $150 in order to profit $100.

The closer the number is to 0, the safer the bet is; low risk, but low reward. The farther away it gets, the worse the bet is. You either put money on a huge favorite, therefore earning minimal return, or risk money on too long of a long shot.

The key is to find the value picks. Betting on all the favorites may get you lots of wins, but the profits will be minimal. You need to find categories where the favorite is a bit more vulnerable, or where there is lots of support for the an underdog win. Last year, for example, bets on Green Book for Best Picture at +360 and Black Panther for Original Score at +250 helped secure me a nice little profit on the evening. Once again, it’s all about finding the right value. Unfortunately, this year, many of the favorites are big favorites. It won’t be worth your time to back many of them (though there are a few that offer good value).

*All odds were taken from Bovada and were current as of Tuesday, February 4th at 2:00 PM CT. Odds may vary based on what site you use, and are subject to change without notice.*
*The Oscars can be – and often prove to be – wildly unpredictable. This is meant as a guide to help you make a few bets, hopefully adding a little extra fun to Oscar night.*
*No bet is a sure thing, especially here. Please bet responsibly.*

We’re going to approach this logically. I’ll go over some of the key nominations and wins common among past Oscar winners, and touch on how this year’s nominees match up. Other relevant information will be discussed as necessary. Again, all I’m trying to do is give you as much information as possible, so you can make educated bets.

One note regarding the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) . The numbers here can get a little goofy. Some movies released later in the year in the States get pushed back to the following year’s BAFTAs. For example, Dances with Wolves received a BAFTA Best Picture nomination the year after it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. These are counted as a “miss,” if you will, in the nomination/win stats. In order to count, the BAFTA and Academy Award nomination/win must occur in the same award cycle.

The years used were film years 1989-2018, unless otherwise noted (some awards have not been active that long). If a number used is lower than 30, that is how long that particular award/award ceremony has been active, or will be otherwise explained.

Alright my friends, let’s go secure that bag!

Betting picks marked with an asterisk (*) indicates bets I have made myself. Note that I rarely like to bet favorites myself. You may feel otherwise.

Best Picture

2020 Oscar Best Picture
  • 28/30 Best Picture winners received an American Cinema Editors (ACE) nomination, with 15/30 earning a win
    • Winners: Drama – Parasite
      Comedy – Jojo Rabbit
  • 26/30 received a BAFTA nomination (including 14 in a row), but only 12/30 have won the BAFTA (previous 5 BAFTA winners have not won Best Picture)
    • Winner: 1917
  • 26/30 have also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Director
  • 23/25 received Critics Choice (CC) nomination, with 14/25 winning
    • Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • 29/30 (29 in a row) received a Directors Guild of America (DGA) nomination, with 21/30 winning
    • Winner: Mendes – 1917
  • 29/30 received a corresponding Academy Award nomination for Film Editing
  • 29/30 received Golden Globe (GG) nomination, with 19/30 winning
    • Keep in mind GG has two Best Picture categories
    • Winners: Drama – 1917
      Comedy/Musical – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • 29/30 received Producers Guild of America (PGA) nomination, with 21/30 winning (2 in a row and 10 of the last 12)
    • Winner: 1917
  • 21/25 received Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nomination for Performance by an Ensemble in a Motion Picture (the SAG equivalent of Best Picture), but only 11/25 have won the SAG award
    • Winner: Parasite
    • Parasite was not expected to win here, so this likely says more about its Best Picture chances than it would have had one of the favorites, say OUATIH, won
  • 25/30 received a Writers Guild of America (WGA) nomination, with 17/30 winning
    • Winners: Adapted Jojo Rabbit
      Original Parasite

Okay, lots of info here, and Best Picture will be the most crowded in that sense. But to break it down, a Best Picture winner typically has widespread support across the board. It will have nominations from multiple guilds. The more nominations a film has, the better its chances should be at winning Best Picture, especially if those nominations are spread throughout a variety of both above and below the line categories.

  • Hollywood, The Irishman, and Parasite received nominations from the BAFTAs, DGA, PGA, SAG, and all those film’s directors are nominated for Best Director
  • 1917 scored nominations from the BAFTAs, Academy for Best Director, DGA, and PGA
  • Jojo Rabbit had nominations from the DGA, PGA, and SAG
  • Joker nabbed nominations for BAFTAs, Academy Best Director, PGA, and SAG
  • Since 1981, only Birdman in 2014 has won Best Picture without also having a Film Editing nomination
    • 1917, Little Women, Marriage Story, OUATIH did not receive an Editing nomination
  • 2009’s Slumdog Millionaire is the last film to win Best Picture without any acting nominations
    • 1917, Parasite, Ford v. Ferrari did not receive any acting nominations
  • Parasite would be the first non-English speaking Best Picture winner
  • With one of 1917 and Parasite leading the way, something unprecedented or historically rare is primed to occur

If there’s a category to have more exposure, it’s Best Picture. The preferential voting process widens the race, improving the value of some of the underdogs. Take a look at the video below if you’re unfamiliar with how that process works.

Best Picture has become a two horse race between 1917 and Parasite, with Hollywood lagging behind in third position; Hollywood should fair well with the preferential ballot. Jojo Rabbit is still hanging around, picking up various pre-Oscar awards. Joker remains widely loved and respected. It will be a big surprise if any movie outside of 1917, Parasite, or Hollywood wins, but the preferential system allows for the possibility of an upset.

In regards to Parasite, keep in mind that Oscar voting didn’t open until January 30th. In the lead up to that, everyone saw how beloved Parasite, Bong, the cast, everyone and everything related to that movie is. Could that have an effect on some of the voters? 1917 remains the front-runner, but there is definite momentum behind Parasite. There’s a certain buzz, an energy, surrounding it that you just don’t see every year.

At its current odds, 1917 is right on the border being an okay bet. I’m not taking any action on it, but I can’t fault anyone who does.

The bet (recommended gambling action): 1917, Parasite*, Hollywood*, Joker, Jojo Rabbit*
In the spirit of transparency, I also placed a very small bet on Little Women. It’s a losing bet, but I usually like to find one or two huge long shots to throw a couple bucks at. The +15000 odds offer a huge payout for very little money, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Best Director

2020 Oscar Best Director
  • 27/30 Best Director winners received a BAFTA nomination, but only 12/30 won
    • Winner: Mendes
  • 30/30 received a corresponding Academy Award nomination for Best Picture
    • All five director’s films are nominated for Best Picture
  • 24/24 received CC nomination, with 18/24 winning
    • Winner: Bong and Mendes (tie)
  • 30/30 received DGA nomination, with 26/30 winning (including 6 in a row)
    • Winner: Mendes
  • 29/30 received GG nomination, with 18/30 winning
    • Winner: Mendes

The narrative here is similar to that of Best Picture. What started as a decently close race has boiled down to two at the top – Mendes and Bong – with a third lagging behind – Tarantino. Maybe there’s a chance the Academy awards Tarantino his long-awaited Director Oscar, but that feels like too much of a fool’s bet.

Mendes’ lead over Bong is bigger here than 1917 over Parasite for Best Picture, but don’t count out Bong just yet. He’s beloved by the Academy and seemingly everyone agrees his directing work is masterful in Parasite. Mendes remains the likely winner, but Bong is worth a small bet.

Ignore Scorsese here, and don’t even think about Phillips. No director in the last 30 years has won the Oscar without a corresponding DGA nomination; Phillips is the only one of the five nominees not to have received one.

The bet: Bong Joon-Ho*

Lead Actress

2020 Oscar Lead Actress
  • 22/30 Best Actress winners received BAFTA nomination, 18/30 won (including 6 in a row)
    • Winner: Zellweger
  • 19/30 received CC nomination, 13/30 won
    • Winner: Zellweger
  • 28/30 received GG nomination, 25/30 won
    • Winners: Drama- Zellweger
      Comedy/Musical – Awkwafina (Not nominated for an Oscar)
    • Again, like Best Picture, GG splits lead acting into two categories
  • 24/25 received SAG nomination, 17/25 winning
    • Winner: Zellweger

Zellweger’s BAFTA win seems to cement her as the Oscar winner. But for the sake of argument, let’s see if there still might be some wiggle room.

Scarlett Johansson appears to be the next in line. But she’s also nominated in Supporting Actress. While this indicates wide support, could it result in members splitting their votes for her? This marks the 12th time an actor or actress has received both Lead and Supporting nominations in the same year. So far no one has won both, though 7/11 have won at least one of the two awards. If you think the trend continues, this probably presents a better chance for her to pull an upset than Supporting. Her odds here have also been slowly improving. May ultimately mean nothing, but something worth keeping an eye on.

Erivo is an Oscar win away from completing her EGOT (career Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony wins). It might play a factor, it might not. But if you’re looking for reasons to talk yourself into betting Erivo, this could help. But it should be noted Best Original Song offers a better chance for her to win.

With the four running behind Zellweger all such big long shots, it’s hard to make a strong case for one over the other. Tread carefully here, and it’s probably best to avoid altogether.

The bet: Avoid or Johansson*
Once again, in the spirit of transparency, I also placed a small bet on Ronan. I realize I’m all but certainly throwing money away here. But she is my favorite actress and I will bet on her every single time she’s nominated.

Lead Actor

2020 Oscar Lead Actor
  • 24/30 Best Actor winners received BAFTA nomination, 17/30 won
    • Winner: Phoenix
  • 19/24 received CC nomination (including 16 in a row), 16/24 won
    • Winner: Phoenix
  • 29/30 received GG nomination, 22/30 won (including 10 in a row)
    • Winners: Drama – Phoenix
      Comedy/Musical: Taron Egerton (not nominated for an Oscar)
  • 25/25 received SAG nomination, 20/25 won
    • Winner: Phoenix

Most of the stats here are pretty meaningless this year. While all four acting categories feel fairly locked in at this point, Phoenix losing this award would be a major shock.

But if you can’t help but make a non-Phoenix bet, Driver would be the man to back. But avoiding this category is the official – and strong – recommendation.

The bet: Avoid*

Supporting Actress

2020 Oscar Supporting Actress
  • 19/30 Supporting Actress winners received BAFTA nomination, 16/30 won
    • Winner: Dern
  • 20/24 received CC nomination, 17/24 won (including 10 in a row)
    • Winner: Dern
  • 27/30 received GG nomination, 18/30 won
    • GG does not split Supporting into separate categories
    • Winner: Dern
  • 22/25 received SAG nomination, 18/25 won
    • Winner: Dern

Oscar prognosticators have been fingering this category as one to be on upset alert for. And while the odds agree with that (Dern’s odds are the lowest of the four acting favorites), nothing we’ve seen from the lead-up strongly signals that. But it might be an idea worth entertaining.

Pugh has the people’s support, as she had three acclaimed performances this year (Fighting with my Family and Midsommar, in addition to Little Women). She’s quickly become incredibly popular with the general audience. The question then is whether or not that feeling has found its way into the Academy. The sense is that it’s beginning to, but likely not enough to garner her enough votes for a win.

And let’s briefly circle back to Johansson. If you’re convinced she wins one of her two awards, her odds here actually present decent value. But if you’re on the fence, probably best to stay away.

The bet: Avoid, or Pugh* if you just can’t help yourself, Johansson if you want to take more of a risk.

Supporting Actor

2020 Oscar Supporting Actor
  • 20/30 Supporting Actor winners received BAFTA nomination, just 13/30 won
    • Winner: Pitt
  • 19/24 received CC nomination, just 14/24 won (but 10 of the last 12)
    • Winner: Pitt
  • 28/30 received GG nomination, 20/30 won
    • Winner: Pitt
  • 23/25 received SAG nomination, 16/25 won
    • Winner: Pitt

This is Pitt’s award. It may be tempting to bet on Pesci at +900, but don’t fall for that trap. Leave this one alone and just sit back and enjoy watching a Hollywood icon win his first Oscar (acting, at least; he won as a producer for 12 Years a Slave).

The bet: Avoid*

Also read: 2020 Oscar Nominations Announced

Original Screenplay

2020 Oscar Original Screenplay
  • 28/30 winners received BAFTA nomination, with 16/30 winning
    • Winner: Parasite
  • 20/24 received CC nomination, with 15/24 winning
    • From 2001-2008, CC only had one screenplay award
    • Since 2009, 10/10 have been nominated, and 8/10 won (missed on either bookend, with 8 in a row winning in between)
    • Winner: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • 22/24 received GG nomination, with only 10/24 winning
    • Note that GG only has one screenplay award
    • Winner: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
  • 24/30 received WGA nomination, with 18/30 winning
    • Tarantino is not a member of the WGA, and therefore was ineligible
    • Winner: Parasite

Parasite has steadily risen up the ranks, supplanting Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood as the favorite leading up to Oscar weekend. Parasite won the guild award, but with Tarantino being ineligible, it doesn’t necessarily paint Parasite as the clear favorite. Hollywood won the Critics’ Choice award, which has historically been more predictive. It didn’t match up last year, but the previous 8 CC winners went on to win the Oscar.

Keep a watch on Parasite’s odds. If it stays where it’s at, or moves closer to even, go for it. If it becomes a stronger favorite, you may need to reconsider. Hollywood still makes a fine bet, regardless of where its odds finish at. Marriage Story is still barely in the mix. It had nominations in all four the key pre-cursors, even though it didn’t come away with any wins. But you’re on thin ice if you decide to bet it.

The bet: Parasite or Hollywood*

Adapted Screenplay

2020 Oscar Adapted Screenplay
  • 24/30 winners received BAFTA nomination, only 10/30 won
    • Winner: Jojo Rabbit
  • 19/24 received CC nomination, just 9/24 won
    • Winner: Little Women
    • Since going back to two categories in 2009, 10/10 have been nominated, with 4/10 winning
  • 21/30 received GG nomination, 10/30 won
    • Winner: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (again, GG only has one screenplay award)
  • 27/30 received WGA nomination, 21/30 won
    • Winner: Jojo Rabbit

Adapted is setting up almost identically to Original. Just replace Parasite, Hollywood, and Marriage Story with Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, and The Irishman.

And like Parasite, monitor Jojo Rabbit’s odds. Right now it’s an acceptable, if not great, bet. But if its odds move higher, best to stay away.

Similar to Marriage Story, The Irishman had the four key nominations, but also came away with zero wins. Jojo Rabbit was only nominated in two of them, though it did win for both.

The bet: Jojo Rabbit or Little Women*

Animated Feature

2020 Oscar Animated Feature
  • 18/18 winners received Annie Award (AA) nomination, with 12/18 winning Best Animated Feature
    • Winner: Klaus
  • 10/10 received ACE nomination, with 9/10 winning
    • Winner: Toy Story 4
  • 13/13 received BAFTA nomination, with 11/13 winning
    • Winner: Klaus
  • 18/18 received CC nomination, with 15/18 winning
    • Winner: Toy Story 4
  • 13/13 received GG nomination, with 10/13 winning
    • Winner: Missing Link
  • 14/14 received PGA nomination, with 10/14 winning
    • Winner: Toy Story 4

In what has traditionally been a fairly easy category to predict, Animated Feature may be one of the more unpredictable categories this year. In the previous four years, the eventual Oscar winner has won all four of AA, CC, GG, and PGA. But this year saw three different films win those four awards, with Toy Story 4 taking home two.

Toy Story 4 is the only nominee to receive nominations from each of the six other awards listed above, and as such remains the favorite. But it’s far less of a sure thing now. Klaus is the value bet, while Missing Link remains an intriguing long shot. Note that Missing Link beat out both Toy Story 4 and Klaus for the VES awards for Animated Feature and Animated Character.

Even I Lost My Body isn’t an awful bet, given the unpredictability so far. It also won the Annie for Independent Feature, for good measure.

Toy Story 4 is the front-runner, and likely winner. And with all the uncertainty, its odds have lowered significantly. If you’re looking for spots to bet the favorite, this is one of them, but don’t be surprised to see a shake-up on Sunday night.

The bet: Toy Story 4, Klaus*, Missing Link*, I Lost My Body* if you want to take a risk on a long shot
This might be too much exposure, but if any of those three wins, I’ll still come out ahead in this category.


2020 Oscar Cinematography
  • 27/30 winners received American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nomination, with 14/30 winning
    • Winner: 1917
  • 25/30 received BAFTA nomination, 14/30 won
    • Winner: 1917
  • 10/10 received CC nomination, 9/10 won
    • Winner: 1917

The only thing wrong about Roger Deakins winning his second Oscar is that it will only be his second Oscar.

There’s no bet worth considering here. Easy skip.

The bet: Avoid*

Costume Design

2020 Oscar Costume Design
  • 24/30 winners received BAFTA nomination, but only 11/30 won
    • Winner: Little Women
  • 10/10 received CC nomination, with 9/10 also winning
    • Winner: Dolemite is My Name (not nominated for an Oscar)
  • 17/21 received Costume Designers Guild (CDG) nomination, but only 10/21 won
    • Winner: Jojo Rabbit

The Critics’ Choice Awards have historically been the most predictive for this award, but with this year’s winner not being Oscar-nominated, it muddies the waters a bit. However, neither Jojo Rabbit nor Joker were nominated there. With every Oscar winner having at least been nominated since the Critics’ Choice began awarding for Costumer Design, it might give you some pause in betting on either.

That being said, Jojo Rabbit did win the coveted guild award, though you see there isn’t traditionally a big correlation between winning there and winning the Oscar. But it’s still a guild award, so it shouldn’t be ignored.

When you factor it all together, both Hollywood and Jojo present some decent value. At these odds, don’t bother betting on Little Women. But keep an eye on it. If that number starts to move into the -200 or lower range, maybe consider pulling the trigger.

The bet: Hollywood* or Jojo Rabbit*

Documentary Feature

2020 Oscar Documentary Feature
  • 4/5 earned ACE nomination, with the same 4/5 winning
    • Winner: Apollo 11 (not nominated for an Oscar)
  • 4/7 earned BAFTA nomination, with the same 4/7 winning
    • BAFTA did not issue this award between 1990-2004 and 2006-2010
    • Winner: For Sama
  • 7/12 earned PGA nomination, and 5/12 won
    • Winner: Apollo 11 (not nominated for an Oscar)

With only one of these documentaries winning any of the big pre-cursors, there isn’t a lot of clarity. American Factory has long been in the lead position, but For Sama’s BAFTA win could shake things up. Without a lot of good insight, this one is probably better left alone.

The bet: Avoid*

Film Editing

2020 Oscar Film Editing
  • 30/30 earned ACE nomination, and 23/30 won
    • Winners: Drama – Parasite
      Comedy – Jojo Rabbit
  • 25/30 earned BAFTA nomination (including 7 in a row), with only 10/30 winning
    • Winner: Ford v. Ferrari
  • 9/10 earned CC nomination, but just 4/10 won
    • Winner: 1917 (not nominated for an Oscar)

Editing is loaded with good value. Parasite has moved into the driver’s seat, replacing Ford v. Ferrari as the presumptive favorite. But as far as favorites go, its odds are great. Though that’s mitigated a bit by Ford being close to even as well. But even still, this is one of the few instances where it makes sense to bet on the favorite.

But Ford v. Ferrari was the clubhouse leader for a while for a reason. And with its BAFTA win getting it on the board, it’s still very much in the mix to win the Oscar. At its current odds, it makes for a fine bet. And don’t count out The Irishman and Thelma Schoonmaker. She’s a legend in the game, and sometimes people want to vote for a legend. And at +550, it offers some nice value.

And keep in mind Jojo Rabbit’s ACE win for Comedy Film. If you’re looking for a true long shot with a chance, this might be the one, though it’s worth pointing out that it missed on a CC nomination. But even still, betting Jojo here is one of my favorite value bets on the board.

Joker is really the only nominee you can’t make a case for. Until you consider the fact that it leads the field with 11 nominations. It’s clearly in the 5th spot, but you never know.

The bet: Parasite* (full disclosure: I placed an early bet here, when it was at +700), Ford v. Ferrari, The Irishman, Jojo Rabbit*

International Feature

2020 International Feature Nominees

Parasite is going to win. Another easy skip.

The bet: Avoid*

Makeup and Hairstyling

2020 Makeup & Hairstyling Nominees
  • 19/30 winners earned BAFTA nomination, 16/30 won
    • Winner: Bombshell
  • 6/10 earned CC nominations, 3/10 won
    • Winner: Bombshell
  • 6/6 earned Makeup and Hairstylists nomination (MUAHS), 6/6 won
    • MUAHS has various awards and there have been breaks over the years where some have not been awarded
    • These 6 winners received a nomination for and won at least one of these awards
    • MUAHS has five film categories they recognize
      • Bombshell was nominated for 3 and won all 3
      • Joker was nominated for 2 and won 1
      • Downton Abbey (not nominated for an Oscar) won the 5th

Bombshell feels like it’s ready to run away with this one. But Joker would be the one to back if you want some action here.

The bet: Avoid or Joker*, maybe Judy if you’re looking for a Hail Mary

Original Score

2020 Original Score Nominees

*Only going back 20 years, as prior to that, category was split into two separate awards for a short stretch

  • 15/20 winners earned BAFTA nomination, 9/20 won (but 6 of the last 7)
    • Winner: Joker
  • 14/20 winners earned CC nomination, 9/20 won
    • Winner: Joker
  • 17/20 earned GG nomination, 18/30 won
    • Winner: Joker

The consensus thought is that this is Hildur Guðnadóttir’s (Joker) to lose. And that is what’s most likely to happen. But 1917 still has a pulse.

This is Thomas Newman’s 14th nomination for Original Score (plus one nomination for Original Song), but is rocking the big goose egg in the W column. With this being Guðnadóttir’s first nomination, it’s a definite possibility that Thomas Newman gets the “A legend hasn’t won an Oscar yet” treatment. Bet on Thomas Newman here (not Randy, make sure you don’t mix them up), but don’t go overboard.

The bet: Thomas Newman – 1917*

Original Song

2020 Original Song Nominees
  • 14/21 winners earned CC nomination, 9/21 won
    • Winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”
  • 22/30 earned GG nomination, 18/30 won
    • Winner: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”

“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” goes into Oscar night as the clear favorite. But as mentioned before, Erivo only needs an Oscar to complete her EGOT. It’s worth keeping in mind, so laying a small bet on Erivo here could have a nice payoff. And at its current odds, it’s an okay value bet even without the EGOT consideration.

The bet: “Stand Up”*

Production Design

2020 Production Design Nominees
  • 19/19 winners earned Art Directors Guild (ADG) nomination, 13/19 won
    • Winners: Period Film – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
      Fantasy Film – Avengers: Endgame (not nominated for an Oscar)
      Contemporary Film: Parasite
  • 25/30 earned BAFTA nomination, 10/30 won
    • Winner: 1917
  • 10/10 earned CC nomination, 8/10 won
    • Winner: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Six Production Design Oscar winners in a row have also won at the Critics’ Choice, which points to Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The same six Production Design winners have also won an ADG Award. That makes another point for Hollywood, but also keeps Parasite in the mix.

Hollywood’s odds make for an okay bet, especially if you’re looking for spots to back the favorite. Both 1917 and Parasite (that house though!) make for decent bets.

The bet: Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, 1917 or Parasite*
Jojo Rabbit* if you’re looking for a “What the hell, let’s swing for the fences” type bet

Sound Editing

2020 Sound Editing Nominees
  • 23/30 winners earned BAFTA nomination, 14/30 won
    • Note that there is only one sound award at the BAFTAs
    • Winner: 1917
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) is the guild to look at here
    • They have multiple awards so it’s a little harder to quantify the nominations and wins
    • However, the Sound Effects/Foley is typically what’s looked at most as the Oscars indicator
      • Ford v. Ferrari won with 1917 taking home the Dialogue/ADR award
      • These two were, and remain, the front-runners
    • As with all guilds, any nomination/win here is a good sign
  • 26/30 Sound Editing Winners also earned a Sound Mixing nomination, with 15 of those winning both
    • Rise of Skywalker did not receive a Sound Mixing nomination

The sound categories could be tricky. 1917 is the favorite in both. Sitting at -300 here, that’s not too enticing. I’d like to see that move down a few points before placing a bet. Or if you use a site that allows parlay bets (Bovada does not), a 1917 Editing and Mixing parlay could be reasonable even at these odds.

But Ford v. Ferrari is right there as well. It would be no surprise to see that come away with one or both sound awards. Either bet Ford in both, or don’t bet it in either. Two years in a row, 4/6 years, and 7/10 have seen the same movie win both categories.

The bet: Avoid, 1917 or Ford v. Ferrari*

Sound Mixing

2020 Sound Mixing Nominees
  • 27/30 winners earned BAFTA nomination, 16/30 won
    • Winner: 1917
  • 11/12 earned Cinema Audio Society (CAS) nominations, 7/12 won
    • Winner: Ford v. Ferrari
  • 17/30 Sound Mixing Winners also earned a Sound Editing nomination, with 15 of those winning both
    • Ad Astra did not receive a Sound Editing nomination

*See notes for Sound Editing*

Except that 1917 at -200 here is much more reasonable than -300 in Editing.

The bet: Avoid, 1917, or Ford v. Ferrari*

Visual Effects

2020 Visual Effects Nominees
  • 28/30 winners earned BAFTA nomination, 19/30 won
    • Winner: 1917
  • 10/10 earned CC nomination, 5/10 won
    • Winner: Avengers: Endgame
  • 12/17 earned Visual Effects Society (VES) nomination, 12/17 won (VES has Outstanding Visual Effects and Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects; these stats count nominations/wins in either category)
    • Winners: The Lion King and The Irishman (Supporting)

Here is another category where the betting favorite, 1917, has favorable odds. The Irishman and The Lion King also present fairly good bets with their odds. Avengers: Endgame feels like a trap; other than Black Panther last year, the Academy just does not want to recognize Marvel movies. But it does present a low risk option.

The bet: Anything but Star Wars (including avoiding if you can’t make up your mind)
*I bet The Irishman

Major Takeaways

  • Bet with your head, not your heart
    • I know that I went directly against this in betting on Saoirse Ronan, but if you’re going to bet with your heart, at least recognize that you’re doing so
  • Take note of nominations for pre-cursor awards
    • Wins of course help a contender’s case, but multiple nominations indicate widespread support
  • Guild awards tend to be the most predictive
    • If in doubt, bet on the corresponding guild winner
  • There aren’t many favorable front-runner odds
    • Shorter award season could be a big factor in this
    • Pick your spots for an upset, but don’t get carried away
  • Limit the long shot bets
    • Not every favorite will win, but that doesn’t mean you should throw money away on a long shot in every category
  • Perhaps most importantly: only bet what you are comfortable with
    • I made more bets than many people may want to
    • If you only want to dip your feet in and bet a couple categories, do that

Additionally, two other great resources – both of which I used extensively to help sift through and make sense of all this data – are Gold Derby and Walt Hickey’s blog.

So there we have it. These predictions won’t be perfect, of course. But I have complete trust and faith in the process. With some smart bets, and maybe a little luck along the way, hopefully we can all take some money home on Sunday night.

Written by Matt Hambidge

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