Oscars 2022 Odds: What Are The Best Actor Picks?

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Will Smith is a big favorite to win an Oscar for Best Actor this year. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Now that we’ve considered the Academy Awards odds for Best Picture nominees, let’s look at what the gentlemen are up to in the Best Actor category.

Oddsmakers have Will Smith as a heavy favorite. DraftKings was dealing Smith at -800 as of Thursday afternoon. As with any bet on sports, shop around for the best odds on the Academy Awards. Here are all of the odds courtesy of DraftKings.

Will Smith, “King Richard” -800

This is the Fresh Prince’s third Oscar nod; he was first nominated in 2002 for another sports bio, “Ali,” and again in 2007 for “The Pursuit of Happyness.” “King Richard” is also in the hopper for Best Picture, but those odds there are far longer than those on Smith in this category. He’s come a long way from neon baseball caps and “Parents Just Don’t Understand,” and judging by the past nominations, Oscar applauds his growth.

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog” +450

If it’s not a runaway win for Smith, this category looks to be a two-man race between him and Dr. Strange. While Cumberbatch’s character in “The Power of the Dog” is only slightly less grumpy but far more concerned with the fate of humanity than his Marvel counterpart, “The Power of the Dog” is quite the favorite for Best Picture, and some of that shine could fall on its leading man. Like Smith, Cumberbatch is a previous recipient of the-nod-but-not-the-win award from the Academy. However, he won a BAFTA for this role last month, and the Brits are considered reliable precursors. We shall see.

Andrew Garfield “tick, tick… BOOM!” +1100

Yes, that’s capitalized correctly, and no, I’m not going to get into it. Directed by Lin Manuel and written by Jonathan Larson, Garfield’s role as a struggling Broadway composer named Jon feels a bit too insular for truly public consumption. The odds gap feels wider than the number shown here, since Smith and Cumberbatch are soaking up all the buzz–but then again, that could mean the vote will split between the two and Garfield will snatch the trophy.

Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” +2500

When in doubt, give a Shakespeare play a shiny new phone case. This is Washington’s 10th Academy Award nomination; he’s won twice, for “Glory” and “Training Day.” This AppleTV+ production puts Washington in the title role, and it’s the first film foray for the Cohen brothers with just one Cohen (Joel.) His choice to film in black and white is an interesting one, and seeing an older-than-usual Macbeth gives the ancient story some new dimensions.

Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos” +4000

There’s a reason why these odds are so long. Although Lucie Arnaz, the daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, praised the charm and musicality of Bardem’s turn as her father, his physical likeness to the iconic Cuban entertainer was so off the mark as to be distracting. Biopic performances shouldn’t unspool as imitations, and the talented Bardem may have captured some of Arnaz’s characteristic mannerisms, but the gap between Arnaz and the role-as-Arnaz was so wide that it swallowed the performance. Watch “Being the Ricardos” snippet of “Cuban Pete” next to the Arnaz original; Javier Bardem can spin a straw hat on his finger all day long, but there’s only one Pete from Cuba, and it ain’t him.

Also read: Oscars 2022 Odds: What Are The Best Picture Picks?

About the Author

Mary Beth Ellis

Writer and Contributor
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a widely published freelance writer who teaches at the college level. A native Cincinnatian, she pledges eternal allegiance to Sean Casey and Boomer Esiason. Mary Beth specializes in cultural pieces, history, and memoir. Her work has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, /Film, Redleg Nation, Monsters & Critics, Today.com, and many others. Her second book, a set of essays about embedding with the Ohio State University Marching Band, is in the works.

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