The 96th Academy Awards are on Sunday and like most Oscars in the past many of the big awards have all but been decided. In a year with a juggernaut that is Oppenheimer dominating awards season, it can be difficult to find winners. But with that being said there are some great categories that are still up for grabs where you can get a little value. I’ll cover the big

Best Picture

Oppenheimer (-5000) has been demolishing it’s way through the competition picking up wins at The Golden Globes, BAFTA’s, Producers, Directors and Actors Guild. The only film to sweep those precursors and not win at the Oscars was Apollo 13. This was one of my favorite films of 2023 and I waited for the rest of the year to be proven wrong and as good as a year it was, no other film capture the scale, scope and gravitas that Oppenheimer did.

Predicted Winner: Oppenheimer (-5000)

Best Actor

May the doubters be silenced. Going into the SAG Awards there was a faction of people saying that Paul Giamatti (+500) had a shot to unseat the favorite Cillian Murphy (-1000). Then on SAG night Murphy walked away with his first SAG award. With that victory it has cleared the way for Murphy and his first Oscar win. I think this is the right choice as he played the title character in one of the biggest movies of the year and held the frame for three plus hours.

Predicted Winner: Cillian Murphy (-1000)

Best Actress

This is the race of the year and I’m glad that I got in early in this market.

Lily Gladstone (-225) and Emma Stone (+150) have dominated award season. Each having they’re moments this year. Early in awards season Gladstone had the upper hand taking home many critics choice awards including a Golden Globe (Drama) and the most important, the SAG for a Female in a Leading Role. Stone came on late and in a natural leading actress role that showcased her fearlessness, entranced voters at the Globes (Comedy), BAFTA’s and Critics’ Choice Awards.

Going into the SAG Awards Stone was the (-150) favorite and Gladstone was (+275). After the award show when the market opened up again on Monday the actresses were even at (-110) and as of the Wednesday prior to the Oscars Gladstone had moved to (-225) and Stone at (+150). It really could go either way, but if your a fan of trends in the last ten years not counting Gladstones SAG win, the Academy and SAG have only not matched twice (2018, 2020.)

Predicted Winner: Lily Gladstone (-225)

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Downey Jr. (-3500) is this years Jamie Lee Curtis, but actually deserving of the honor. He is a legacy actor and has been nominated two times before and in my opinion turned in a performance that rivaled the performance of the Cillian Murphy. I thought this would be a closer race between Mark Ruffalo (20/1) and Downey but as the category fleshed out over awards season it was clear that Downey’s work and charm were going to push him over the edge.

Predicted Winner: Robert Downey Jr. (-3500)

Best Supporting Actress

If I had to describe DaVine Joy Randolph’s (-3500) Oscar campaign in a sports example it would have to be Secretariats performance at the 1973 Belmont. Just absolute domination. This is an instance where the perfect role was matched with a perfect performance by an actor and this is what happens. She is so deserving of this award and has run a perfect race to go along with her perfect performance.

Predicted Winner: DeVine Joy Randolph (-3500)

Best Director

In the recent history of the Oscars the Best Picture and Best Director have not matched up, not this year. This is the year of Christopher Nolan (-5000). He shepherded one of the largest productions of the year, adapting the life surrounding J. Robert Oppenheimer. He is one of the only directors that has the reputation and the juice that could have made this film possible. Let’s just say he’s lucky Dune: Part Two was pushed to 2024, but that’s for another day.

Predicted Winner: Christopher Nolan (-5000)

Best Adapted Screenplay

This is one of the best categories from the top down. American Fiction (-250) is the heavy favorite in the category. This has increasingly been the category that tries to reward a film that is highly regarded, but not necessarily in the running for Best Picture. After looking at the past performances this awards season American Fiction has dominated in this category.

I’m going to point to The BAFTA’s which is not as reliable precursor as it used to be. The fact that you have a British Director (Nolan) who adapted the screenplay and won both BAFTAs for Best Picture and Best Director and did not win for Adapted Screenplay is interesting, it went to American Fiction. I enjoy the snappy satirical writing by Cord Jefferson who brought levity and humor to very serious adult moments throughout the film. This is one category that I think is actually mispriced and should be an even bigger favorite.

Predicted Winner: American Fiction (-250)

Best Production Design/Costume Design/Makeup & Hairstyling

The reason that I chose to cover all three of these categories together is because I think one movie has a really good shot at winning each of them. Poor Things is either the favorite or short shot to win in all of them and up until about a week before the Oscars was in the trailing position behind Barbie or Maestro. It has overtaken Barbie (+140) in Production Design at (-200)

and in Costume Design has shortened the gap to (+110). At the Oscars those are very close races, but I believe that Poor Things has the momentum to carry it in both these categories.

As for Makeup & Hairstyling Netflix has been campaigning hard for Maestro (-175). From my reading most of the makeup and hairstyling in the film is to age the characters, which is commendable, but not nearly the work in my opinion that Poor Things (+125) put together. The work done on Emma Stones jet black hair, Mark Ruffalo’s mischievous mustache and Willem Defoe’s misshaped head all play vital roles in bringing to life the world of Bella Baxter. I think there is great value still for Poor Things and it just might sweep Production Design, Costume Design and Makeup & Hairstyling.

Production Design Predicted Winner: Poor Things (-200)

Costume Design Predicted Winner: (+110)

Makeup & Hairstyling Winner: Poor Things (+125)

My complete Oscars Predictions with Current DraftKings Odds:

  • Best Picture: Oppenheimer (-5000)
  • Best Director: Christopher Nolan (-5000)
  • Best Actor: Cillian Murphy (-1000)
  • Best Actress: Lily Gladstone (-225)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Robert Downey Jr. (-3500)
  • Best Supporting Actress: DeVine Joy Randolph (-3500)
  • Best Original Screenplay: Anatomy of a Fall (-250)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: American Fiction (-250)
  • Best Cinematography: Hoyte van Hoytema, Oppenheimer (-2000)
  • Best Film Editing: Jennifer Lame, Oppenheimer (-800)
  • Best Original Score: Ludwig Göransson, Oppenheimer (-2000)
  • Best Original Song: What Was I Made For? (Barbie) (-750)
  • Best Sound: Oppenheimer (-225)
  • Best Visual Effects: Godzilla Minus One (-200)
  • Best Production Design: Poor Things (-200)
  • Best Costume Design: Poor Things (+110)
  • Best Makeup & Hairstyling: Poor Things (+125)
  • Best International Feature: The Zone of Interest (-2500)
  • Best Documentary Feature: 20 Days in Mariupol (-1100)
  • Best Animated Feature: The Boy and the Heron (+135)
  • Best Live-Action Short: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (-750)
  • Best Animated Short: War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko (-120)
  • Best Documentary Short: The ABCs of Book Banning (-200)