Oscars Betting 2021: Which Films Have A Chance At The Academy Awards?

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Casino. The Hustler. The Sting. What do these movies have in common?

For starters, they’re all about gambling. They were also each recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as representing the very best in film, garnering nominations if not several outright wins.

Despite Hollywood’s love affair with chance, local legislatures (and irony) have largely prevented American movie fans from betting on the Oscars. When the nominees for the 93rd Academy Awards are announced on Monday, March 15th, gaming enthusiasts/film buffs around the country will be chomping at the bit to turn their preferences into payouts. Only a relative handful will be able to do so.

Where Can You Bet on the Oscars?

To date, New Jersey and Indiana are the only two states where you can put odds on the Oscars, via sportsbooks. With the rising popularity and growing adoption of online gambling nationwide, though, it may not be long before “Supporting Actor” ties “Super Bowl” for the hottest wager in town.

Whether you’re a Hoosier or a resident of the Garden State, there is no shortage of sportsbooks to choose from. Check out our guides to the best sportsbook apps in each state, from brand-name blockbusters to the hip little indies that have everyone buzzing.

Which Films Might Be The Favorites At Popular Sportsbooks?

Whether you’re laying down cash at a sportsbook or just wagering with friends, 2021 is sure to be one of the most hotly contested Oscar races in years. There don’t appear to be any hard-line divisions between movies like there were in the bad old days of Pulp Fiction versus Forrest Gump, Boyhood versus Birdman, or Green Book versus Anything Else.

If the Golden Globe nominations are any indication (and they usually are), this year will see an escalation of the debate over the legitimacy of streaming-service films versus traditional theatrical releases. When the global pandemic knocked most movie theatres (and, by extension, big-screen movies themselves) out of commission last year, once emerging forces like Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix began pushing hard for their On Demand offerings to snag as much Oscar gold as possible.

Some of the most talked-about films and performances still belong to traditional studios. Searchlight Pictures’ recession-road trip drama Nomadland topped several “Best of 2020” lists, with high praise for director Chloé Zhao and star Frances McDormand.

Likewise, Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman is shaping up to be a description of the actress-turned-writer/director’s Best Picture and Best Director prospects. The Focus Features thriller is getting a lot of attention for its unconventional take on the revenge picture, with star Carey Mulligan delivering one of the most talked-about performances of last year.

On the flip side, there are too many streaming contenders to describe in detail here. Just look up the credits for Amazon’s One Night In Miami and Sound of Metal; Netflix’s Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; A24/Apple’s On the Rocks; or even Palm Springs from Neon/Hulu, and you’ll trip over possible nominees (and likely surefire winners) in multiple categories.

As the statue wars rage between studios like never before, it’s audiences who will emerge the clear winner in 2021. Unlike years past, movie lovers won’t have to hit up the local art theatre (or any theatre) to prepare for the live April 25th broadcast. In many cases, the best of the best are only a rental or a “Watch Now” away.

Hopefully betting on these films will be just as easy and, as they say in the trailers, coming soon.

About the Author

Ian Simmons

Ian Simmons is a Chicago-based freelance writer, podcaster, and proprietor of the movie-review website Kicking the Seat. Despite having spent nearly twenty-two years as an artist and producer at a leading gambling and lottery supplier, he still can’t tell you the “secret” to winning at slots.

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