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Oscar Predictions, Odds: CODA for Best Picture, Penélope Cruz for Best Actress, Picks for More Academy Awards

Oscar Predictions, Odds: CODA for Best Picture, Penélope Cruz for Best Actress, Picks for More Academy Awards article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Troy Kotsur of CODA, Jane Campion of The Power of the Dog, and Penelope Cruz of Parallel Mothers.

  • Betting on the Academy Awards? Find our analysts' 2022 Oscar predictions ahead of Sunday night's show below.
  • They're betting on CODA to take home Best Picture, Penelope Cruz to win Best Actress, and more.
  • They make cases for betting the following seven picks below.

After months of speculation and posturing, Hollywood’s biggest night is finally here.

The 2022 Academy Awards will broadcast live from Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles at 8 p.m. ET on ABC this Sunday, and there’s plenty of intrigue about which films will take home Best Picture and more.

Thinking about betting on the Oscars? We’ve got you covered. Our analysts have seven bets to recommend, including picks for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Documentary Feature and even Best Documentary Short.

It’s important to note that this year, not all awards will be shown live. The Academy decided to pre-record eight award presentations in the hour leading up to the telecast, so if you have interest in betting any of those categories, you’ll want to get your wagers in early.

Those categories are: Film Editing, Documentary Short, Makeup & Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, Animated Short, Live Action Short, and Sound.

Without further ado, here are our seven best bets for the 2022 Oscars.

2022 Oscar Predictions

Category Pick Odds
Best Picture CODA -125
Best Actress Penelope Cruz +300
Best Supporting Actor Troy Kotsur -334
Best Original Screenplay Belfast +150
Best Documentary Feature Flee +330
Best Production Design Dune -300
Best Documentary Short The Queen of Basketball -155

Best Picture: CODA (-125) at PointsBet

Chris Raybon: How did we get here? After The Power of the Dog was the Best Picture frontrunner for much of awards season, CODA stormed ahead thanks to a Best Picture win at the Producer’s Guild Awards and a Best Ensemble Cast win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

There’s a case to be made for The Power of the Dog: It has Best Picture wins at BAFTA, Critics Choice, and the Golden Globes, and it has 12 nominations to CODA’s three. Still, Gold Derby’s industry insiders know all of this, and yet 78.6% of their experts and 61.5% of their editors are picking CODA to take home the Academy’s top prize.

Given those probabilities, its odds should be closer to -230. That value is too good to pass up.

Best Actress: Penélope Cruz (+300) at DraftKings

Jeremy Pond: When it comes to the major categories, the chalk prevails more often than not. Well, I think we’re going to see the “power of the underdog” in the Best Actress category in the form of Penélope Cruz.

Cruz, who’s seeking her second career Oscar, has flown under the radar this awards season. Yet, in my opinion, Cruz’s performance in “Parallel Mothers” was just as good as her 2008 Oscar-winner effort in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona.”

Cruz hasn’t gotten the traction like favorite Jessica Chastain has, but she did pick up crucial honors from the National Society of Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics.

Throw in the fact Academy voters LOVE foreign films and the Spanish actress starring in the Spanish film is a live underdog.

Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur (-334) at PointsBet

Collin Wilson: The pure definition of the word ‘buzz’ might be what has happened to the odds of anything on the betting board associated with the movie CODA. For this specific category, Troy Kotsur has swept numerous awards this season for his role as a deaf father. While the Academy is familiar with mother Marlee Matlin, winner of Best Actress for Children of a Lesser God’in 1986, Kotsur has taken massive steam over 25-year-old Kodi Smit-McPhee from The Power of the Dog.

Best Supporting Actor is generally won by older actors and can often be referred to as a lifetime achievement award. While Kotsur has a checkmark in the age department, 100% of Gold Derby critics make Kotsur the winner in this category.

While Smit-McPhee played a crucial role in The Power of the Dog, plenty of those scenes came in tandem with Benedict Cumberbatch. Kotsur’s performance is in a movie with no nominees for Best Actor or Actress, allowing his character as the backbone of the family to shine. This is one instance where the betting favorite is heavily underpriced.

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Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association. Pictured: Best Supporting Actor nominee Troy Kotsur

Best Original Screenplay: Belfast (+150) at PointsBet

Chris Raybon: Licorice Pizza’s screenplay was entertaining, but it was ultimately aimless…not to mention a little weird. Some people even found it offensive. It won at the BAFTA, but lost to Belfast at Critics Choice and Golden Globes, and to Don’t Look Up at WGA.

Belfast, meanwhile, was at one point considered a legit contender for Best Picture — until more people saw it, presumably. Don’t get me wrong, Belfast was fine — it just isn’t Best Picture material.

But that fine-ness may be enough for Kenneth Branagh to take home the Oscar as the safer choice, and as a consolation prize of sorts for his likely loss in the directing category.

Belfast is the favorite at Gold Derby, and the books have yet to adjust. In fact, this is the only category (save for Best Picture at certain books) in which the Gold Derby frontrunner diverges from the sportsbook frontrunner.

Best Documentary Feature: Flee (+330) at FanDuel

Collin Whitchurch: Flee is, remarkably, nominated in this category as well as Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature. Yes, it somehow fits into all three categories.

I’m not going to explain to you how that’s possible, just go see it.

Unfortunately, it has little chance of bringing home a gold statue in any of those three categories, but Best Documentary Feature represents its best chance.

Since the BAFTAs began awarding a documentary feature regularly back in 2011, it has dominated in terms of predicting Academy Awards success. Last year, it correctly predicted My Octopus Teacher, which was the fifth correct prediction in the last 10 years. The IDAs have been awarding a top prize here for a lot longer, but since the BAFTAs introduced the category, the IDAs only have three correct predictions.

This year, the BAFTAs awarded their top prize to Summer of Soul, while the IDAs went with Flee.

The odds are clearly stacked against our plucky underdog, but +340 presents good value for a very legitimate upset. We don’t have to go back all that far to find an instance when the Academy went with the IDA choice over the BAFTAs. It was in 2016, when OJ: Made in America bested 13th.

Flee has no shot at either Best Animated Feature nor Best International Feature, but I believe the Academy is willing to recognize its brilliance and will do so here, siding with the IDA. I’ll take a shot at Flee at +340 and bet it to +300.

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Best Production Design: Dune (-300) at DraftKings

Collin Whitchurch: The ADG breaks its top prize into four categories: Period, Fantasy, Contemporary and Animated. (It was only three until the latter category was added in 2017.)

The last time the Academy went with a film that was not awarded in any of those four categories was in 2012, when Lincoln beat Anna Karenina, Life of Pi, Skyfall and BAFTA choice Les Miserables.

The Period category, along with the BAFTAs, actually has the best track record overall. But the ADG’s Period winner this year was Licorice Pizza, which wasn’t nominated. Instead, the Fantasy category aligns with the BAFTAs in honoring Dune, so it’s a somewhat obvious choice.

Don’t discredit Nightmare Alley, however. The Academy loves Guillermo del Toro in this category, giving his film — not him specifically, as he’s not the production designer — the prize in both 2017 for The Shape of Water and 2006 for Pan’s Labyrinth.

However, given Dune’s likelihood of dominating the technical categories, the +250 number isn’t tasty enough for my liking. If you could find Nightmare Alley at +400 or better, maybe dabble, but otherwise ride with Dune to -400.

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Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for Warner Bros. Pictured: A premiere of Dune

Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball (-155) at DraftKings

Chris Raybon: The Queen of Basketball is backed by 92.3% of editors and 71.4% of experts at Gold Derby, which suggests its odds should be closer to -450.


More 2022 Oscar Predictions

  • A Guide To Betting Every Category: Senior editor Collin Whitchurch breaks down his take on every category, including which are worth betting vs. passing.
  • Gold Derby Experts vs. the Odds: Senior betting analyst Chris Raybon compares predictions by Gold Derby’s experts and editors to the odds in order to identify potential values.
  • 5 More Best Bets: Senior betting analyst Collin Wilson reveals his picks for both supporting actor awards, plus Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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