These Are The Films The Public Are Backing With Their Oscars Bets

Posted on February 7, 2020 - Last Updated on May 2, 2023

We’ve spent the past few weeks discussing what the odds are for this year’s Oscars contenders. What we haven’t talked about is what the public is actually betting on when it comes to this year’s Academy Awards.

FanDuel Sportsbook recently gave some insight into exactly that, revealing which categories were getting the most action as well as which nominees the money is coming in on.

While this information includes Indiana bettors, the numbers are not entirely Hoosier State action. These are the combined bets of both FanDuel Indiana and FanDuel NJ.

Best Picture is the most bet on category

FanDuel and DraftKings are both offering odds in all 24 Oscar categories; however, most bettors are solely interested in Best Picture.

At FanDuel, nearly half (46%) of all bets are on the biggest category of the night.

Here is how the betting breaks down, so far:

  • 1917 (33%)
  • Parasite (26%)
  • Joker (15%)

As expected, this two-horse race is pretty evenly divided between the films at the center of the Oscars discussion this year. It helps that the favorite, 1917, is not a prohibitive favorite.

After getting as steep as -250, some action is coming in on the South Korean Parasite, bringing the 1917 price down.

At the time of writing, both DraftKings and FanDuel have 1917 at -200.

DraftKings’ price on Parasite is a modest +275, while backers of that movie can get even better odds on Parasite, which the site has at +350.

Even though 1917 has swept all of the major awards leading up to the Oscars, save for the SAG Awards, there has been a late push by Parasite fans and supporters to make it the first-ever foreign film to win Best Picture.

Parasite did win a SAG for Best Ensemble Cast, but that is generally not the most solid predictor of Best Picture success. In the 25 years of the SAG Awards’ existence, the Best Ensemble Cast won Best Picture only 11 times.

Joker perhaps the most-bet film overall

Joker is both a gigantic box office success and the film with the most nominations this year, so it makes sense the movie would round out the top three when it comes to betting action.

However, with Oscars Best Picture voting done via a preferential ballot system, the polarizing nature of the response to Joker is working against the film.

That isn’t deterring bettors, though. Joker dominated the betting action in four different categories, including Best Makeup and Hairstyling and even Best Cinematography, where 1917 is considered an immortal lock to win the award.

Bettors avoid heavy favorites in the acting categories

If you haven’t looked at the odds in the acting categories, you may not realize that there is a massive favorite in all four of them.

Here is a look at the FanDuel odds on the four favorites:

  • Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix (-3,500)
  • Best Actress: Renee Zellweger (-1,667)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Brad Pitt (-2,500)
  • Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern (-2,000)

With odds that steep, bettors would need to put down a four-figure bet just to profit $100. Even if you wanted to win only $1, you would need to risk $35 on Phoenix taking the trophy.

These steep odds have bettors avoiding the front-runner and throwing out bets on the long shots, which could potentially result in a big payday.

It is interesting to note that, save for Phoenix, none of the front-runners are among the three most popular bets in their categories. This is even more surprising when you consider there are only five nominees to bet on in most categories.

Here is a look at the most bet-on nominee in each of the acting categories as well as their betting odds:

  • Best Actor: 36% of action on Adam Driver (+1400)
  • Best Actress: 50% of action on Scarlett Johansson (+900)
  • Best Supporting Actor: 36% of action on Tom Hanks (+2000)
  • Best Supporting Actress: 35% of action on Margot Robbie (+800)

Except for Hanks, FanDuel considers these actors the next-most likely to win over the favorite. It is also worth noting that all of these actors are bona fide movie stars.

Last year, there was a similar trend that resulted in one of the five most popular bets being on Lady Gaga to win Best Actress for A Star Is Born.

Betting on Best Animated Feature more popular than Best Director

One surprising twist of FanDuel’s betting data is that the second-most popular betting category is not any of the acting categories or Best Director. Arguably, it is kids’ stuff.

An impressive 12% of all bets placed at FanDuel are in the Best Animated Feature category. The betting favorite for that award is Toy Story 4, which is also the film generating the most bets.

However, this is one of the more interesting categories when it comes to the race toward a winner. There are three different films with a legitimate shot at winning.

Certainly, Pixar has an incredible Oscar track record. However, it is actually the Netflix-animated film Klaus, which won both the BAFTA and the prestigious Annie Award from other animators.

Then the real wild card in the race is the stop-motion film Missing Link. The film surprised many with a win at the Golden Globes.

The film’s animation studio, Laika, created several beloved and well-received stop-motion films. Coraline, Corpse Bride, and the recent Kubo and the Two Strings all earned Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations.

In fact, Laika has six nominations in the category, including Missing Link, but zero wins. On a down year for Disney productions, this may be the time for the Academy to give Laika a trophy.

Most bet on contenders by category

Here is a full look at the betting action on the Oscars at FanDuel, so far:

Category% of Overall Handle#1 Handle#2 Handle#3 Handle
Best Picture46%1917 (33%)Parasite (26%)Joker (15%)
Best Director7%Quentin Tarantino (28%)Bong Joon Ho (24%)Same Mendes (24%)
Best Actress3%Scarlett Johansson (50%)Cynthia Erivo (25%)Saurise Ronan (10%)
Best Actor3%Ada Driver (36%)Leonardo DiCaprio (36%)Joaquin Phoenix (15%)
Best Supporting Actress 2%Margot Robbie (35%)Scarlett Johannson (22%)Kathy Bates (18%)
Best Supporting Actor2%Tom Hanks (36%)Joe Pesci (28%)Al Pacino (22%)
Best Animated Feature 12%Toy Story 4 (70%)Klaus (20%)Missing Link (5%)
Best Original Screenplay7%Parasite (46%)1917 (23%)Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (18%)
Best Adapted Screenplay 4%Joker (40%)The Irishman (20%)Little Women (16%)
Best Makeup and Hair2%Joker (66%) Bombshell (13%)Maleficent (9%)
Best Original Song2%Into the Unknown (32%)Stand Up (32%)I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away (18%)
Best Original Score2%Joke (64%)1917 (18%)The Rise of Skywalker (14%)
Best Costume Design 2% Jojo Rabbit (55%)Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (20%)Joker (20%)
Best Film Editing2%Parasite (30%)Joker (25%)Ford v Ferrari (25%)
Best Visual Effects3%Avengers Endgame (40%)1917 (22%)Lion King (22%)
Best Cinematography1%Joker (32%)Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (28%)The Irishman (18%)
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