Joker Has Best Actor Locked, But These Oscars Categories Are Primed For Upsets

Written By Jessica Welman on February 6, 2020 - Last Updated on May 6, 2022

When it comes to the major categories at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, the betting markets are, shall we say, a little too predictable? The four acting categories all have such prohibitive favors, and most people are not that interested in betting on them.

Take Joaquin Phoenix‘s Oscars betting odds to win Best Actor in the film Joker. At DraftKings Sportsbook, Phoenix is currently -5000 to win. That means if you want to win just a single dollar betting on him to win, you have to risk $50.

Where’s the fun in that?

So, what should you do if you want to get a few bets on the Oscars that may actually make you some money on Sunday night?

In between your Oscars party planning, look to the other categories for Oscars betting. Here are five smaller categories where the favorite could go home empty-handed.

Best Animated Feature

Every year, it seems like the Pixar film is automatically anointed as the movie to beat in this category. However, this year, that crown may have been handed out too quickly.

First of all, Toy Story 4 came up empty-handed at the Golden Globes. Instead, the trophy went to Missing Link. If you aren’t familiar with the film, it is a stop-motion animation about a Sasquatch traveling to the Himalayas to meet his Yeti family.

The craftsmanship of the film is a stark departure from most animated film winners, which are CGI. It is currently a whopping +900 to win, while Toy Story 4 is at -134 and Klaus is at -106.

There is a chance that Klaus, the Santa film produced by Netflix, could prevail after winning at the BAFTAs and winning an Annie award.

Your safer money is on Klaus, but the potential for a big return if Missing Link pulls out the win may prove too tempting to pass up.

Best Film Editing

Like a good car race, the Editing contest is a back and forth affair. Mainstream studio film Ford vs. Ferrari sped out to an early lead only to fall behind to the international sensation Parasite.

The editing guild chose to honor Parasite, but the BAFTAs opted for Ford vs. Ferrari.

Currently, it is Parasite favored at -134, while Ford vs. Ferrari is going off at +100. Both picks are ones you can potentially make some money off of, but given the craftsmanship that went into Ford vs. Ferrari, a film that more clearly has quality editing than the lower-key Parasite, taking the underdog is the way to go.

Best Adapted Screenplay

This race is perhaps the closest one the Oscars had to offer. Initially, it seemed like Little Women writer/director Greta Gerwig was on the road to her first Oscar.

However, the late surge from Jojo Rabbit helmer Taika Waititi has moved him to the front of the pack. Now, Waititi is the -230 favorite, while Gerwig is +150 to win.

What Jojo Rabbit has going for it is a win at the Writer’s Guild of America awards and a surprise win in the Adapted Screenplay category at the BAFTAs. Both of those wins came just before Oscars voting closed, which does benefit Waititi in terms of momentum.

Gerwig was listed many times as a big snub in the Best Director category in a year with a fervent outcry over the lack of female and racial minorities among nominees.

With that in mind, she could still win because voters want to try to address the oversight by giving a consolation trophy of sorts to Gerwig for leaving her out of the Director category.

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Best Costume Design

Best Original Screenplay is not the only category that is pitting Little Women against Jojo Rabbit. The costume category is another one that looks to be a two-horse race where there is quite a bit of value in betting the underdog.

In general, the Oscars betting market overvalues period films when it comes to costumes. In the case of Little Women, though, it is especially strange that it is the favorite in this category.

The Costume Designers Guild Awards are the best predictor of which costume designer will prevail on Oscars night. Since the inception of the CDGA awards in 1999, no film has won the Oscar for Best Costume Design without at least a nomination from CDGA.

CDGA did not nominate Little Women. Instead, Jojo Rabbit won in the period film category. Given that you can get Jojo Rabbit at +275 while Little Women is inexplicably priced at -335 based on just a win at the BAFTAs, this is perhaps the best spot of all to get great odds on a contender with a real chance of taking home the Oscar.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the managing editor for A graduate of Indiana University and USC, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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