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2024 Academy Awards Picks

Other Bets

With the NBAPGANHL, and MMA all occupying our attention, one area outside of betting is overlooked this time of year — The Oscars. 

Today, I’m predicting predicting all winners and highlights his favorite values ahead of Sunday’s 96th Academy Awards. 


Oppenheimer leads all motion pictures with 13 nominations and has had a dominant awards season that should culminate with another huge hardware night for the behemoth. After a slew of award season wins (Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice), the value for Oppenheimer in the big categories passed months ago. If you got in early, you’re loving the CLV. 

In Oscars betting, the early values are one way to a profit but not the only. In last year’s article, I wrote about Jaime Lee Curtis (+150) for Best Supporting Actress, The Whale (+150) for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and All Quiet on the Western Front (+175)for Best Score. All won their respective categories and were plus-money in the week leading up to Oscar Sunday. 

This year, to both cinephiles and the average filmgoer, the most exciting questions surround Best Actress and both screenplay categories, but, in terms of betting, I like Best Production Design and Best Makeup & Hairstyling to be equivalent sweats to the aforementioned categories. It’s definitely Oscar season. 

Without further ado, let’s get to FTN’s best bets for the 96th Academy Awards. 

(All odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.)

2024 Academy Awards Best Bets

Best Production Design: Barbie +140

Early in Barbie, the title character descends from the sky, slowly floating to her dreamhouse, the iconic set-piece of the year. The race between Barbie and Poor Things in Best Production Design and Best Costume Design is shaping up to be a unique battle between two celebrated films, albeit in similarly bizarre ways. Both coming-of-age films make strong cases to take home the award for Best Production Design, but I think it’s Barbie’s optimistic take on the surrealistic universe that edges out Poor Things macabre set-pieces to take the win. The team picked up the same award at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and I think it picks up the Oscar at plus-money. For Barbie, this win will attempt to rectify the film’s snub from Best Makeup and Hairstyling. 

Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Poor Things +125

Last year, the odds favored Elvis for Best Makeup & Hairstyling, but I liked The Whale (+150) to win the award as a makeup to Brendan Fraser not winning best actor. While I was correct on The Whale winning Best Makeup & Hairstyling, I missed Brendan Fraser winning best actor in conjunction with this award. I’m not making that mistake this year. Emma Stone’s transformation into Bella Baxter, quite literally a Franken-Barbie-esque character in her own right, is the performance of the year in my opinion, accentuated to perfection through this team. Barbie not being nominated for this category is a huge boost for Poor Things which likely would have garnered votes away. That didn’t happen. As a result, I like Poor Things here and in Best Costume Design, as well as Emma Stone in Best Actress. 

Best Sound: The Zone of Interest +150

Oppenheimer is a heavy favorite in this category (-250), but The Zone of Interest, Jonathan Glazer’s haunting film about the family life of Auschwitz’s commandant, exceeded expectations and created new paths for what sound can do for a film. Few prisoners are shown on screen and none in the camp, thus making the unseen sounds all the more menacing. Yes, Oppenheimer could win this category, but I think the Academy goes for the year’s biggest achievement in sound. 

Bold text denotes my current Oscar betting values.

Category Current Favorite (DK Sportsbook) Odds Mike Talas’ Pick
Best Picture Oppenheimer -5000 Oppenheimer
Best Director Christopher Nolan -5000 Christopher Nolan
Best Film Editing Oppenheimer -800 Oppenheimer
Best Live-Action Short The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar -700 The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar
Best Documentary Short The ABCs of Book Banning -200 No pick
Best Animated Short War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko -140 Letter to a Pig +110
Best Actor Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer) -1200 Cillian Murphy
Best Actress Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon) -250 Emma Stone +165
Best Supporting Actor Robert Downey Jr. (Oppenheimer) -3500 Robert Downey Jr.
Best Supporting Actress Da’Vine Joy Randolph (The Holdovers) -3500 Da’Vine Joy Randolph
Best Visual Effects Godzilla Minus One -200 Godzilla Minus One
Best Production Design Poor Things -200 Barbie +140
Best Makeup & Hairstyling Maestro -175 Poor Things +125
Best Costume Design Barbie -150 Poor Things +100
Best Cinematography Oppenheimer -2000 Oppenheimer
Best Original Screenplay Anatomy of a Fall -250 Anatomy of a Fall
Best Adapted Screenplay American Fiction -225 American Fiction
Best Animated Feature Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse -225 Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse
Best Documentary 20 Days in Mariupol -2000 20 Days in Mariupol
Best International Feature The Zone of Interest -2500 The Zone of Interest
Best Original Score Oppenheimer -2000 Oppenheimer
Best Sound Oppenheimer -250 The Zone of Interest +150
Best Original Song “What Was I Made For?” (Barbie) -750 “What Was I Made For?” (Barbie)
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