2022 Oscar Predictions: Expert Picks Include CODA for Best Picture, Belfast for Best Original Screenplay and More
Kevin Winter/Getty Images. Pictured: The stars of CODA at the Producers Guild Awards.
Here’s how I’m betting each category for the 94th Academy Awards ceremony, which begins on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET, airing live on ABC. Betting on this event was first allowed in legal markets in 2019, and has taken off since.
To derive true odds in each category, I use prediction data from GoldDerby.com, which is essentially the “sharp money” of awards shows. I take the percentage of editors and experts that are picking each film to win and convert it into odds, then compare those projected odds to the actual odds at sportsbooks.
Gold Derby has tracked its prediction accuracy since 2011, and its experts and editors both get over 75% of their picks correct, on average.
The lowest prediction accuracy Gold Derby experts and editors have had over the last decade is just under 65%, which equates to odds of roughly -180, so I have decided to institute that as a cutoff for betting favorites even when they show value, though I still indicate what its true odds should be in case you have a higher threshold.
If you’re just looking for a TL;DR with the bets, here they are:
- Best Picture: CODA +100 (bet down to -180)
- Best Original Screenplay: Belfast +120 (to -115)
- Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball -155 (to -180)
- Best Song: Dos Oruguitas +225 (to +145)
- Best Sound: West Side Story +700 (to +585)
- Best Actress: Jessica Chastain -140 (to -180), Penelope Cruz +350 (to +345)
- Best Film Editing: tick, tick…BOOM! +1000 (to +670), Don’t Look Up +2000 (to +1250)
- Best Cinematography: The Power of the Dog +300 (to +280), The Tragedy of Macbeth +1400 (to +1000)
New to betting? Favorites have a minus (-) sign and the number indicates the money you would need to risk to win $100, whereas underdogs have a plus (+) sign while that number indicates the money you would win for every $100 bet.
Example: Dune is a +4000 underdog for Best Picture, which means you would net a $4,000 profit on a $100 bet if it wins. Learn more here.
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.
- The Power of the Dog +115
- CODA +100
- Belfast +1400
- West Side Story +3500
- King Richard +4000
- Dune +4000
- Don’t Look Up +6500
- Licorice Pizza +8000
- Drive My Car +8000
- Nightmare Alley +15000
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.
Pick: CODA +100 (to -180)
- Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog) -3500
- Steven Speilberg (West Side Story) +1400
- Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) +1400
- Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) +2000
- Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car) +3000
After winning the top prize for directors at the BAFTA, Golden Globes, Critics Choice, and DGA, Campion is predicted to win by 100% of editors and 96.4% at Gold Derby, meaning her odds should be closer to -5450!
I’m not saying you should bet this category (you really shouldn’t), I’m just saying there’s no value on anyone else.
- Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye) -140
- Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers) +350
- Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) +450
- Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter) +800
- Kristen Stewart (Spencer) +800
This category is wide open: Kidman won the Globe, Chastain won the Critics Choice and SAF, and Joanna Scanlan — who wasn’t even nominated — won the BAFTA. The Academy also loves it some Colman, who might win for making regretful facial expressions on a beach chair for a couple of hours.
Personally, I’m pulling for Chastain, who I managed to snag at +550 back on Feb. 9. All rooting biases aside, though, Chastain is the best value on the board, with support from 76.9% of editors and 71.4% of experts on Gold Derby, suggesting her odds should be closer to -285.
Cruz also is getting some late buzz, with 23.1% of editors and 21.4% of experts projecting her to take home her second Oscar after winning Best Supporting Actress for Vicky Cristina Barcelona in 2008. Cruz is a slight value on DraftKings at +350, but a much bigger one at FanDuel at +500.
If you bet both Chastain and Cruz, you can use our Hedging Calculator to split your amounts wagered in a way that guarantees a profit if either of them wins.
Pick: Jessica Chastain -140 (to -180), Penelope Cruz +350 (to +345)
- Will Smith (King Richard) -800
- Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) +450
- Andrew Garfield (tick, tick…BOOM!) +1100
- Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth) +2500
- Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) +4000
After sweeping the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Globes, and SAG. Smith is commanding over 90% of the first-place votes on Gold Derby, suggesting true odds closer to -1290.
It’s Smith’s to lose, but if you’re looking for an out-of-nowhere longshot a la Anthony Hopkins last year, keep an eye on Andrew Garfield’s odds in relation to his Gold Derby support.
As of this writing, every Gold Derby editor and expert who did not pick Smith is rolling with Garfield, but his +1290 implied odds still don’t represent a value compared to his +1100 price tag.
Best Supporting Actress
- Ariana DeBose (West Side Story) -1600
- Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) +600
- Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard) +1800
- Judi Dench (Belfast) +2500
- Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter) +3500
Like Smith, DeBose swept at the BAFTA, Critics Choice, Globes, and SAG. She has near unanimous support at Gold Derby, with extrapolated odds of closer to -5450.
For what it’s worth, the only other actress predicted to win at Gold Derby is Dunst, but she’s massively overvalued at +600, which implies a 14.3% chance to win — nearly eight times higher than her minuscule 1.8% support on Gold Derby suggests.
Best Supporting Actor
- Troy Kotsur (CODA) -500
- Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) +300
- Ciaran Hinds (Belfast) +2000
- Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog) +3500
- J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos) +3500
Smit-McPhee was the early frontrunner after winning at the Globes, but Kotsur won at the BAFTA, Critics Choice, and SAG while CODA has become a Best Picture co-favorite.
Kotsur has 100% support on Gold Derby, so there’s technically value here at -500, which implies an 83.3% chance of winning. Still, -500 isn’t worth the trouble.
Best Adapted Screenplay
- CODA -200
- The Power of the Dog +150
- The Lost Daughter +800
- Drive My Car +1600
- Dune +2000
The Power of the Dog won at the Globes and Critics Choice, but it was CODA that emerged victorious at the BAFTA and all-important WGA. CODA now lays claim to 85% of the Gold Derby votes, making it undervalued at -200, which implies a 67% chance of winning. However, those odds are still juiced past my -180 cutoff point for favorites.
Best Original Screenplay
- Licorice Pizza -110
- Belfast +120
- Don’t Look Up +600
- The Worst Person in the World +1000
- King Richard +2500
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.
Pick: Belfast +120 (to -115)
- Dune -1000
- The Power of the Dog +300
- the Tragedy of Macbeth +1400
- West Side Story +2000
- Nightmare Alley +3500
Dune is expected to ransack the craft categories, but an upset could be brewing here, as 38.5% of Gold Derby editors are on The Power of the Dog. They are joined by 14.3% of experts, which equates to a weighted probability of 26.4%, or +279 odds.
The Tragedy of Macbeth was the tragedy of Denzel Washington choosing another movie where all he does is listen to himself talk, but it did have pretty good cinematography. With a 9.2% weighted probability at Gold Derby, it is also a live longshot.
Again, be sure to using our Hedging Calculator to figure out the optimal way to split your bets based on the odds at your book.
Pick: The Power of the Dog +300 (to +280), The Tragedy of Macbeth +1400 (to +1000)
Best Costume Design
- Cruella -450
- Dune +330
- West Side Story +1200
- Cyrano +2000
- Nightmare Alley +2500
Over 90% of Gold Derby experts and editors are picking Cruella to win. Its listed odds imply only an 82% chance, so there’s some value here relative to the listed odds, but -450 isn’t worth the trouble.
Best Film Editing
- Dune -125
- King Richard +220
- The Power of the Dog +350
- tick, tick…BOOM! +1000
- Don’t Look Up +2000
Precursor season made a mess of this category, with two films that aren’t even nominated — West Side Story and No Time to Die — winning at Critics Choice and BAFTA. At the ACE Eddie Awards, King Richard won in the drama category while tick, tick…BOOM! took home the prize in the comedy category.
As such, every contender is getting at least one Gold Derby vote. Dune (53.2% weighted probability at Gold Derby), King Richard (24.6%), and The Power of the Dog (1.8%) are all overvalued, leaving tick, tick…BOOM! (13.0%) and Don’t Look Up (7.4%) as juicy live longshot dogs.
Pick: tick, tick…BOOM! +1000 (to +670), Don’t Look Up +2000 (to +1250)
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
- The Eyes of Tammy Faye -280
- Dune +400
- Cruella +600
- Coming 2 America +1000
- House of Gucci +2000
The eyes of Tammy Faye were heavily caked in makeup, which should lead to a win here. The film’s Gold Derby support is nearly 100%, while the listed odds imply just a 73.7% probability, indicating massive value despite the juice. Still…the juice.
Best Production Design
- Dune -300
- Nightmare Alley +250
- West Side Story +1200
- The Power of the Dog +1600
- The Tragedy of Macbeth +2000
Dune has just over 75% of Gold Derby support, indicating the slightest of value at +300 odds. There is also some love for Nightmare Alley (20.5%), but it won’t become a value unless its odds drop to +390 or better.
- Dune -650
- The Power of the Dog +400
- Encanto +1000
- Don’t Look Up +2000
- Parallel Mothers +3500
Dune is getting the 87% support at Gold Derby, so it’s priced correctly, more or less, and way too juiced up to lay a wager down either way.
The top upset contender at Gold Derby is The Power of the Dog (11.0%), but its listed odds are overpriced at +400, which implies a 20% chance of winning.
Best Original Song
- No Time to Die — Billie Eilish (No Time to Die) -280
- Dos Oruguitas – Lin Manuel Miranda (Encanto) +225
- Be Alive – Beyonce & DIXSON (King Richard) +700
- Down to Joy – Van Morrison (Belfast) +2000
- Somehow You Do – Diane Warren (Four Good Days) +2500
Encanto done messed up by not nominating “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” but 46% of editors and 35% of experts at Gold Derby are still predicting it to pull the upset with “Dos Oruguitas.”
Betting against Billie Eilish at an awards show is not for the faint of heart (not to mention betting against Beyonce!), but the odds for “Dos Oruguitas” should be closer to +145. If it wins, Lin Manuel Miranda will become the 17th person in history to achieve a competitive EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony).
Pick: Dos Oruguitas +225 (to +145)
- Dune -1200
- West Side Story +700
- No Time To Die +1600
- The Power of the Dog +2000
- Belfast +2800
Best Sound represents another category in which Dune could get upset offscreen (it will controversially be cut from the main telecast along with film editing, production design, makeup and hairstyling, score, and the three short film categories). Gold Derby has Dune with an 85% chance to win, but the listed odds imply a probability north of 90%.
Meanwhile, Gold Derby gives West Side Story a 14.6% shot, which equates to +585 odds.
Pick: West Side Story +700 (to +585)
Best Visual Effects
- Dune -3500
- Spider Man: No Way Home +900
- Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings +1400
- No Time to Die +2000
- Free Guy +2500
Gold Derby gives Dune a 94.6% chance to win, which makes it overpriced at -3500. Unfortunately, the only upset candidate, Spider Man: No Way Home, is also overvalued at +900, as its Gold Derby odds would put it closer to +1750.
Best Animated Feature
- Encanto -1400
- The Mitchells vs. the Machines +500
- Flee +1200
- Luca +1800
- Raya and the Last Dragon +4000
I enjoyed Flee — more so than Encanto — but Gold Derby suggests it has little chance of upsetting the Disney powerhouse, with 100% of the editors and 92.9% of the experts picking the latter to win.
Best Documentary Feature
- Summer of Soul -360
- Flee +250
- Attica +1400
- Ascension +2500
- Writing With Fire +3500
Flee might have a puncher’s chance here as 15.4% of editors and 10.7% of experts at Gold Derby predict it to win. However, that would still make it overvalued at +250 (it’s odds should be closer to +670).
Summer of Soul is in the lead with support from 89.3% of experts and 84.6% of editors at Gold Derby.
Best International Feature
- Drive My Car -2500
- The Worst Person in the World +800
- Flee +1000
- The Hand of God +3500
- Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom +3500
Drive My Car may go down as the only film in history whose opening credits could be mistaken for its closing credits…it was looooong.
It’s deserving of a win here, though, and the Academy tipped its hand by making it the lone Best Picture nominee of the group. It has near unanimous support on Gold Derby, but it is obviously too juiced up to wager on.
Best Animated Short
- Robin Robin -200
- Bestia +300
- The Windshield Wiper +500
- Boxballet +700
- Affairs of the Art +1600
Robin Robin is picked to win by 92.3% of editors and 89.3% of experts at Gold Derby, implying its odds should be closer to -1000. It’s a massive value at just -200, but its still juiced above our -180 cutoff.
Best Documentary Short
- The Queen of Basketball -155
- Three Songs for Benazir +150
- Audible +600
- Lead Me Home +1200
- When We Were Bullies +2500
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.
Pick: The Queen of Basketball -155 (to -180)
Best Live-Action Short
- The Long Goodbye -225
- Ala Kachuu – Take and Run +300
- The Dress +700
- On My Mind +800
- Please Hold +1400
The Long Goodbye is picked to win by 76.9% of editors and 71.4% of experts at Gold Derby, which makes its projected odds closer to -290, though that is still above our -180 cutoff.