2021 Academy Awards Odds: Best Bets For Major Oscar Categories

  • BetOnline has updated odds for all the top Oscar categories
  • Nomadland (-400) is favored to win the Academy Award for Best Picture
  • Andra Day (+400) is a strong bet to upset Carey Mulligan (-200) for Best Actress

Realizing the whole planet is sick and tired of Zoom calls, this year’s April 25th Oscars telecast will thankfully be an in-person ceremony that will bring all the usual Hollywood glitz and glamour into our living rooms during an unusual year when almost no one ventured inside a movie theater.

With more streaming services than ever and no box-office receipts to discern what people actually watched, the 93rd Academy Awards should produce plenty of surprises, but two major awards look to be in the bag: the late Chadwick Boseman is a -3000 favorite to win Best Actor and Chloe Zhao is -1200 to become the first woman of color to be named Best Director.

Let’s look at the odds for the four major Oscar categories that are still up for grabs:

Oscars Odds To Win Best Picture

The Trial of the Chicago 7+450
Promising Young Woman+1000
Judas and the Black Messiah+1600
Sound of Metal+6600
The Father+6600

Nomadland favored for Best Picture

Of the 92 films that have won Best Picture, 66 have also been awarded Best Director. With Chloe Zhao heavily favored in the director category, that makes Nomadland (-400) the clear frontrunner, but Promising Young Woman (+1000) makes for an intriguing underdog as the only other Best Picture nominee with nods in the directing, acting, writing and editing categories.

While Emerald Fennell’s film is polarizing, it’s a much more exciting “of its time” choice than the other contenders. Voters likely won’t have the same passion for The Trial of the Chicago 7 (+450), Minari (+750), or Mank (+1600), which seems destined to get shutout of the major awards despite receiving the most nominations (10) across the 23 categories. 

Oscars Odds To Win Best Actress

Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman)-200
Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday)+400
Frances McDormand (Nomadland)+400
Viola Davis (Ma Rainey's Black Bottom)+900
Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a Woman)+1000

Carey Mulligan tops Best Actress field

Speaking of Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan (-200) delivers an incredible performance in the genre-bending revenge thriller. It’s hard to imagine voters rallying behind Frances McDormand (+400), who was just awarded her second Best Actress Oscar in 2018, so the best-upset bet is Andra Day (+400) for her performance in “The United States vs Billie Holiday.”

Day would be the first performer to win Best Actress in her film debut in 34 years, but it always pays to depict singers whose lives are cut short by disease or drink. Rami Malek’s win for playing Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” (2018) and Renee Zellweger’s Oscar for impersonating Judy Garland (2019) are just the latest proof.

Promising Young Womanto win Best Picture
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Andra Dayto win Best Actress
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Oscars Odds To Win Best Supporting Actress

Youn Yuh-jung (Minari)+175
Maria Bakalova (Borat Subsequent Movie Film)+200
Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy)+275
Amanda Seyfried (Mank)+500
Olivia Colman (The Father)+700

Best Supporting Actress is wide open

Youn Yuh-Jung (+175) is a slight favorite despite being snubbed at the Golden Globes. The Korean legend is looking to become only the second actress of Asian descent to win, but there is tons of support for “Minari” (six nominations) and Best Supporting Actress is the only place that voters will be able to reward the film as there are overwhelmingly frontrunners in all the other categories.

Maria Bakalova (+200) is a surprise nominee considering comedies almost never pull in major Academy Awards, but the breakout improv star from “Borat Subsequent Movie Film” is the only contender in this category to get nominations for the Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG, BAFTA, and Oscars.

Oscars Odds To Win Best Supporting Actor

Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah)-500
Sacha Baron Cohen (The Trial of the Chicago 7)+375
Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami)+800
Paul Raci (Sound of Metal)+1800
LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah)+2000

Daniel Kaluuya is chalk for Supporting Actor

While there could be some worry that Daniel Kaluuya (-500) and LaKeith Stanfield (+2000) would split the vote as co-stars in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a Best Supporting Actor champ has defeated a co-star six out of 19 times (31.5 percent) in Oscar history, so it’s definitely not unheard of.

Kaluuya is basically a co-lead in the film and already won the Golden Globe, so he’s rightfully the heavy favorite. However, his movie is nowhere near as critically-lauded as “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and, as with Youn Yuh-Jung in “Minari”, voters may want to reward the film by giving Sacha Baron Cohen (+375) the prize -especially since many voters may also be big fans of the Borat sequel.

Sacha Baron Cohento win Best Supporting Actor
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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on heart-clogging eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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