The Oscar Goes to . . .? Predictions and Betting Odds for the 90th Academy Awards
Hollywood’s biggest night comes this weekend, when the 90th Academy Awards air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
Over a month after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominees, and the entire movie industry can still only guess at who will leave Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre with a golden statue on Sunday night. Movie critics, awards experts, and Vegas oddsmakers alike have been weighing in on some of this year’s biggest Oscars debates, from actor Gary Oldman versus Timothee Chalamet to The Shape of Water against Get Out. (This year’s event could even see some side bets on whether there will be another envelope snafu at the end of the night, though the Academy and PricewaterhouseCoopers have taken some precautions against that possibility.)
While we won’t know for sure the identities of all of this year’s Oscar winners until host Jimmy Kimmel kicks off the festivities on ABC this Sunday, the small cottage industry of Academy Award predictions has plenty of thoughts on the subject. Fortune rounded up some of the leading forecasts for Oscars night, along with a few alternative methods for predicting who should be polishing their acceptance speeches.
New York‘s culture website Vulture wrote recently about the difficulty in forecasting this year’s Best Picture Oscar race for reasons that include an especially diverse crowd of contenders, as well as last-minute controversies and an all-around “politically charged moment” in time. It is true that popular opinion has shifted repeatedly with regard to this year’s most award-worthy films. The dark comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri won big at the Golden Globes earlier this year, but the film has also seen a sustained backlash from critics over its questionable ending and a perceived failure in fleshing out the movie’s non-white characters. Meanwhile, current frontrunner The Shape of Water—the sci-fi/fantasy love story about a janitor and a man-like amphibian—was recently hit with a lawsuit alleging plagiarism, which is unlikely to be resolved before this weekend and could possibly have affected some last-minute votes (Academy Award voting closed earlier this week).
With those two films showing potential weaknesses, there is room for a surprise winner like Get Out, the horror film about racism, or the coming-of-age LGBTQ romance Call Me By Your Name, among others.
Still, Hollywood trade outlets Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, along with Entertainment Weekly, all predict a Best Picture win for The Shape of Water (and for that movie’s director, Guillermo del Toro) out of the category’s nine-movie field. And, the data-centric FiveThirtyEight, which makes its Oscars predictions by assigning point values to the many other Hollywood awards that precede the Academy’s big event, tallied up the results and also picked The Shape of Water as Sunday’s most likely headlining winner.
In the other big Oscar categories, all of the above media outlets are in agreement on Gary Oldman (for his turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour) and Three Billboards‘ Frances McDormand will likely win for Best Actor and Best Actress, respectively. Meanwhile, Three Billboards‘ Sam Rockwell and I, Tonya‘s Allison Janney both seem to have tight grips on their respective Supporting Actor/Actress races.
It appears that Las Vegas oddsmakers are not in total agreement with movie experts, as the online gambling site Bovada actually has Three Billboards (20/23) as the odds-on bet to win the Best Picture race over the likes of The Shape of Water (7/5), Get Out (11/2), and Lady Bird (14/1). (The U.K. odds comparison website OddsChecker similarly favors Three Billboards over The Shape of Water.) As far as the acting awards, though, Bovada’s picks are in line with critics and journalists, with the best odds going to Oldman, McDormand, Rockwell, and Janney in their respective categories.
Iconic director Steven Spielberg finds himself in the rare position (for him) as an Oscars dark horse, with the historical drama The Post tied for the worst odds of winning Best Picture (100/1) with Darkest Hour and Daniel Day-Lewis’ final film, Phantom Thread.
Box Office, Social Media as predictors
Looking for other metrics on which to base your Oscar ballot picks? Well, director Christopher Nolan’s intense World War II epic Dunkirk was certainly the winner at the box office, topping all Best Picture nominees with a worldwide gross of $525 million, according to Box Office Mojo. Get Out is the second highest-grossing Best Picture nominee ($255 million globally), as that particular Oscars field is frequently devoid of blockbusters. Of course, some of the nominated films are still in theaters, and winning a big haul at the Academy Awards is known to result in a bump at movie theaters, which is all the more reason for studios to pull out all the stops in their awards-season marketing efforts. (Fortune already wrote about the companies and movie studios that are behind this year’s biggest Academy Award nominees.)
Meanwhile, Dunkirk also fared the best of all Best Picture nominees on YouTube, with the movie’s trailer getting nearly 44 million global views on Google’s digital video service (Get Out and The Shape of Water are the runners up in that regard, with 30 million and 18 million respective views for their trailers).