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2024 Oscars Preview: Is Lily Gladstone Worth a Bet for Best Actress?

Nicholas Berault
Written by Nicholas Berault
January 19, 2024
2024 Oscars Preview Live Odds and Our Best Bets

Awards season is now underway in Hollywood, and the Oscars, the crown jewel among them, are readying the golden statues. The film industry’s famed award ceremony, formally known as the Academy Awards, will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmell on March 10 at LA’s Dolby Theatre.

2024 marks the 96th edition of the Oscars and the second straight year that Kimmell will be the emcee. With the official nominations announcement just around the corner, we’ve previewed the betting angle of how to approach wagering on the biggest night in show business.

2023 Oscars Recap

Chalk won big in 2023. The film that dominated the major acting, writing, and directing awards was Everything Everywhere All At Once. Its seven awards were the most for a Best Picture-winning movie since Slumdog Millionaire took home eight statues in 2009.

EEAAO took home awards for Best Picture, Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Director (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert), Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis), Original Screenplay, and Film Editing. In each category except for Supporting Actress, the winner closed as the odds-on favorite.

Quan won as one of the more significant favorites to win with -2000 odds, tied with Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio within the Best Animated Feature category. The only picture that captured an award with shorter odds was All Quiet on the Western Front, the victor in the Best International Feature category that closed with odds of -3500.

Voting Process

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, comprised of professionals from every specialty in the film industry, organizes the voting processes for nominations and winners. Peers vote within their specialty to form the final list of nominees, meaning actors submit ballots for fellow actors, directors for directors, etc.

Once nominees are finalized, all members of the Academy then cast a full ballot with each category to confirm a winner. This process is imperfect and can be swayed by changes in public opinion and a reliance on bias. Similar to MVP voting in the NBA and Wooden Award voting in college basketball, it’s liable to be influenced by outside factors.

The debate of what makes a player the most valuable is incredibly subjective, as is what makes a movie or an acting performance the best in its category. It also likely gets old voting for the same player or actor every year, as evidenced by LeBron James losing to Derrick Rose in 2011 and Nikola Jokic not winning his third straight MVP last season.

Long story short, it’s a combination of the films and performances themselves, along with the narratives surrounding them, that culminate in a winner.

2024 Categories Preview

You’ll notice a theme throughout the categories that holds true in most years: the big films produce nominee after nominee from one award to the next.

The Oscar nominees for 2024 will be revealed on January 23, and bettors can expect to see movies with well-known directors and star-studded casts be well-represented on the final ballot.

Best Picture

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is the early favorite. Oppenheimer stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey Jr. and tells the story of the development of the atomic bomb during World War II. It has jumped out to a lead at the window after taking home the Best Picture Golden Globe in the Drama category.

Killers of the Flower Moon features Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Robert De Niro in a film directed by Martin Scorsese that depicts the FBI investigation into the massacre of the Osage people following their discovery of oil in the early 20th century.

These two dramas will likely compete with Poor Things, the Golden Globe winner in the Musical/Comedy category starring Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, The Holdovers, which also left the Globes with some hardware, and longshot contenders like Barbie, Maestro, and American Fiction.

Best Actor

Murphy won the Golden Globe for his portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer and is the odds-on favorite to repeat at the Academy Awards. His nomination for this performance will represent his first at the Oscars.

His most likely challenger is Paul Giamatti, now a three-time Golden Globe winner for his work as the lead in The Holdovers and previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 2006 Oscars.

One of those two will likely prevent Bradley Cooper from winning his first Academy Award. Cooper has received acting nominations on four previous occasions at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes, but his first win has proven elusive. This year, he wrote, directed, and starred in Maestro, a movie about famous music composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein.

Best Actress

This category will create suspense when the presenters open the envelope on March 10. Like Best Actor, both Golden Globe winners for Best Actress in the Drama and Musical/Comedy categories will go head-to-head for the Oscar.

Lily Gladstone’s performance in Killers of the Flower Moon earned her the victory in the Drama segment, while Emma Stone took home the Musical/Comedy Globe for playing the lead role in Poor Things.

Gladstone is favored ahead of the official nominee list being announced. We’ll be watching to see how this year’s results compare to last year. In 2023, Michelle Yeoh took home the Globe and Oscar, the latter of which she beat out Cate Blanchett to achieve. Blanchett was favored early, but Yeoh closed hard on the odds list to win as the favorite.

Best Director

This one should be straightforward. Christopher Nolan has yet to win an Oscar despite nominations across three different categories from Memento, Inception, and Dunkirk.

On the heels of two Golden Globes for Best Picture - Drama and Best Director, Nolan is a massive favorite to make a speech and claim a golden statue in early March.

Best Supporting Actor

The parity of the lead acting categories may not carry over to the supporting roles. Where Ryan Gosling was once thought to be on track to secure a first Oscar, Robert Downey Jr. has supplanted him from that position.

Gosling played Ken in Barbie, starring alongside Margot Robbie in Greta Gerwig’s box office hit. Downey Jr. assumed the role of Lewis Strauss, a complicated and ambitious political figure during the time of early American nuclear weapons development, in Oppenheimer.

RDJ captured his fourth Golden Globe in recognition of that performance and has extended a substantial lead over Gosling and the field with roughly six weeks until the Oscars.

Best Supporting Actress

To round out the major acting awards, we present a category with an anticipated conclusion similar to Downey Jr.’s in the Supporting Actor category. Da’Vine Joy Randolph starred with Giamatti in The Holdovers and emerged victorious at the Golden Globes for the role of Mary Lamb, the head cook in a prestigious school’s cafeteria.

While Giamatti displacing Murphy would be referred to as an upset by the oddsmakers for Best Actor, Randolph securing an Oscar is the expectation in the Supporting Actress category.

Best Bets

Need some best bets for the 2024 Oscars? We've combed through every option on the board to bring you our 3 favorite wagers. Best of luck with all of your picks, and enjoy the show!

Lily Gladstone to Win Best Actress (-200)

Gladstone’s momentum reminds us of Yeoh’s in 2023. She is now the favorite to win Best Actress ahead of Stone, but not to the point where this play lacks value.

We’ll take Gladstone to continue her run through awards season with an Oscars victory. Even with this -200 juice, this one looks like a steal.

Paul Giamatti to Win Best Actor (+220)

Our take on this upset pick is that Giamatti has put in his time, been previously nominated, and will hear his name called on stage for a combination of his body of work and a masterful performance in this touching film.

Though it'll be somewhat difficult to beat out Cillian Murphy from Oppenheimer, this price is simply way too good to pass up.

Oppenheimer to Win Best Picture (-350)

Nolan’s likely win in the Best Director category will make for a showdown in this final announcement of the evening if Giamatti does unseat Murphy to win Best Actor.

Unlike Dunkirk, this film should appeal to both war movie buffs and draw votes from those who prefer to sink into character development and the dynamics of complex relationships displayed on screen.

We believe this translates to an exclamation point for Nolan and the cast of this decorated movie. Let's lay the big price!

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