Best Documentary Feature Winner, Nominees & 2021 Oscar Odds

Best Documentary Feature Winner, Nominees & 2021 Oscar Odds article feature image
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Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Pictured: A billboard on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles advertising My Octopus Teacher.

Update: My Octopus Teacher won Best Documentary Feature,


Best Documentary Feature Nominees & Odds

Nominee Odds Implied Prob.
My Octopus Teacher -500 83.3%
Time +400 20%
Collective +800 11.1%
Crip Camp +2000 4.8%
The Mole Agent +5000 2%

Odds as of April 25 and via DraftKings.

Best Documentary Feature Predictions

My Octopus Teacher -500

Collin WhitchurchThis category is interesting mostly because the film I thought would be the favorite ended up with the second-longest odds in Crip Camp. Instead, My Octopus Teacher has run away, at least to a certain extent, surpassing Time and Collective, both of which have also been viewed as favorites at some point along the nomination process.

The International Documentary Awards is the most prestigious of the category-specific awards hosted ahead of the Academy Awards, but it doesn’t have much of a noteworthy track record of predicting Oscars success. Just five times in the last 20 years has those two awards gone to the same film, most recently in 2016 (O.J.: Made in America).

Instead, the Academy’s selection winds up being the film that’s the most popular, something that has also gotten trickier over the years as documentaries have become more widespread consumable in the streaming era. That title this year belongs to My Octopus Teacher, a fascinatingly weird creation that is deserving of its favorite stature.

It wouldn’t shock me to see Time or Collective pull off the upset, and I might throw a few bucks on Crip Camp anyway, and just not tell anyone because it goes against my strategy of betting against longshots.

My Octopus Teacher -500

Chris Raybon: My Octopus Teacher has been steamed from -335 to -500, while Time has gone down from +250 to +400. The film carries 92% of the Gold Derby editors vote and 82% of the expert vote. Films No. 1 for both editors and experts are 7-for-7 thus far, and no film with at least 70% of the expert vote has lost.

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