Here’s How To Win Your Oscar Office Pool!

The 94th Academy Awards are on airing March 27th and we have some tips on how to win your pool based on odds and prior ceremonies!

It’s that time of year again. Oscar season is drawing to a close after the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the British Academy of Film Awards have all announced winners and Oscar voting begins this week. Based on those ceremonies, along with the Critics Choice Awards, here’s our predictions at how to win your office pool for the major categories also using VegasInsider and GoldDerby experts. 

Best Picture 

Current frontrunner : The Power of The Dog (CC, BAFTA, GG) 

Close Second : CODA (SAG Ensemble) 

The biggest award of the evening is Best Picture. At first, the race seemed between Jane Campion’s neo western The Power of The Dog and Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s ode to his childhood. King Richard premiered to critical acclaim and West Side Story debuted to glowing raves and that seemed like a contender too. The race seemed even tighter. But as the final stretch runs out, CODA, a heartwarming family dramedy has shocked awards prognosticators by winning the SAG best ensemble award. This has led many to suspect a groundswell of support for the film in a manner reminiscent of Parasite in 2020. However, the Producers Guild Award is yet to be given out so it can’t be certain. And CODA would break several stats if it won due to its total nomination count.   

Right now, the odds still favor.

Vegas Insider – The Power of The Dog at -300 & CODA +500

Gold Derby – The Power of The Dog 13/2 & CODA 8/1.

Best Director 

Current frontrunner : Jane Campion (The Power of The Dog – CC, BAFTA,DGA, GG)

Upset pick : Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) 

Probably one of the biggest locks of the night, even after her blunder at the Critics Choice Awards. Jane Campion is still poised to win her first Oscar for Best Director after previously winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for The Piano.  She has swept the season. However, if looking for an upset, West Side Story’s release on Disney+ has finally gotten the acclaim and attention the film deserved during its December release with special attention to Spielberg’s masterful direction. 

Vegas Insider – Campion -5000 & Spielberg +1400. 

Gold Derby – Campion 16/5 & Branagh at 4/1 along with Spielberg. 

Best Actor

Current frontrunner: Will Smith (King Richard) – BAFTA, CC, GG, SG) 

Upset pick: Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of The Dog) 

A star performance as the father of tennis stars Venus and Serena’ Williams’s is about to win Will Smith his first Oscar. Long predicted the frontrunner as the right role and actor, it was only cemented once critics saw the film. Will Smith has been in pole position all season. Expected to win GG and SAAG, he even took BAFTA which last year caught both the groundswell for Frances McDormand and Anthony Hopkins. He also won the CC on the same night. An outside pick is still Benedict Cumberbatch’s menacing cowboy Phil Burbank. Cumberbatch could win in a surprise like the Hopkins win last year, but Smith at this point shows no sign of weakness. 

Vegas Insider – Will Smith -1000 & Benedict Cumberbatch +500 

Gold Derby – Will Smith 82/25 & Benedict Cumberbatch 39/10

Best Actress

Current Frontrunner: Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye (SAG, CC))

Close Second: Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos (GG))        

The most competitive above the line race last year. Once again, complete chaos this year.  Stunning surprise nominations for Kristen Stewart for playing Princess Diana and Peneople Cruz in Parallel Mothers sneaking in over Lady Gaga for House of Gucci. With precursor nominations, there were no nominees for the Oscars nominated for the BAFTAS. And until recently, no one had won more than one award. Nicole Kidman playing Lucille Ball stunned predictors winning the Globe but then Chastain’s performance as Tammy Faye won SAG and CC. So going into Oscar night, the favorite is Chastain but it’s anyone’s game as GoldDerby has Olivia Colman in second.  

Vegas Insider – Chastain -165 & Kidman +300

Gold Derby – Chastain 17/5 & Colman – 4/1  

Best Supporting Actor

Current Frontrunner: Troy Kotsur (CODA (SAG, BAFTA, CC)) 

Close second: Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of The Dog (GG)) 

A tight race now but, the supporting actor category took a little while to reveal itself. After the Oscar nominations, the buzz was with Kodi Smit-McPhee for his performance as Peter in The Power of the Dog. But as CODA’s groundswell began, Troy Kotsur’s moving performance as the father and fisherman who doesn’t want to see his daughter leave quickly became the award’s favorite. And winning BAFTA seems to cement that. But keep an eye out for McPhee. A subtle performance that ages marvelously. 

Vegas Insider – Kotsur -350 & McPhee +220

Gold Derby – Kotsur 82/25 & McPhee – 19/5

Best Supporting Actress 

Current Frontrunner: Ariana DeBose (West Side Story (GG, SAG, BAFTA, CC) 

Upset Pick : Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) 

Supporting Actress seemed to be Kirsten Dunst’s to win, but then West Side Story’s Ariana DeBose’s new take on Anita, a character given special focus in the remake, started catching attention. DeBose demonstrated why she’s a Broadway star and has since swept the awards season. She’s won every award so far and is a clear favorite. But look out for Dunst, the heart of the film and the film’s most sympathetic character.             

Vegas Insider – DeBose -2000 & Dunst- +750             

GoldDerby – DeBose 16/5 & Dunst – 39/10

Best Original Screenplay 

Current Frontrunner: Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza (BAFTA) 

Close second: Kenneth Branagh – Belfast (CC, GG) 

The writer/director looks back on their youth and in the process wins an Oscar. A familiar tale and this year, it may apply to either Paul Thomas Anderson and Licorice Pizza or Kenneth Branagh and Belfast. This would be Anderson’s first Oscar. Licorice Pizza won the important BAFTA screenplay award and is poised to win WGA as Belfast was ineligible. But Belfast did resonate at the Golden Globes and won best screenplay as part of its haul at the Critics’ Choice Awards. So, it’s still a tight competition.  

Vegas Insider – Licorice Pizza -250 & Belfast +175

 Gold Derby – Licorice Pizza 7/2 & Belfast 37/10                    

Best Adapted Screenplay 

Current Frontrunner: The Power of The Dog (CC)

Late Breaking Competition: CODA (BAFTA)         

What seemed to be an easy sweep in the works for Campion’s taut adaptation of the Thomas Savage novel has hit a few road bumps. CODA and Sian Heder’s adaptation from a French film into a film set in Gloucester, Massachusetts, with its respectful representation, is also popular and gaining fans. So far, the big day of Critics Choice and BAFTA led to a split. This puts in play Power of The Dog potentially only winning picture and director and missing out on any acting categories or screenplay while CODA goes 2 for 3. Gold Derby isn’t quite as sold and has Maggie Gyllenhaal’s screenplay for The Lost Daughter in second however, so this is a tight race no matter how it’s looked at. 

VegasInsider – Power of The Dog -250 & CODA +230

GoldDerby – Power of The Dog 4/1 & The Lost Daughter – GoldDerby -19/5

A pool often isn’t just reliant on the above the line categories however. And Gold Derby and Vegas Insider can also be helpful for rest of the picks. 

Cinematography – Greg Fraiser for Dune followed by Ari Wegner for Power of The Dog

Best Production Design – Dune followed by Nightmare Alley

Best Costume DesignCruella followed by Dune

Best Makeup and HairstylingThe Eyes of Tammy Faye followed by Cruella

Best Animated FeatureEncanto for both 

Followed by: Vegas Insider – Mitchell v Machines & Gold Derby Flee 

Best International FeatureDrive My Car for both 

Followed by Vegas Insider – Flee, Gold Derby – The Worst Person in The World 

Best DocumentarySummer of Soul followed by Flee 

Best Editing – Dune for both

Followed by – Vegas Insider King Richard, Gold Derby – The Power of The Dog

Best Sound – Dune followed by West Side Story

Best Score – Dune followed by The Power of The Dog

Best Song:

Vegs Insider – No Time to Die then Encanto 

Gold DerbyEncanto followed by Not Time To Die 

Best Visual Effects – Dune followed by No Way Home  

Documentary Short – Queen of Basketball followed by Three Songs 

Animated ShortRobin Robin for both 

Followed by Vegas Insider – Bestia, Gold Derby –The Windshield Wiper 

Live Action ShortThe Long Goodbye followed by Ala Kachuu: Take and Run

The Academy Awards air on March 27th at 5pm PT on ABC. Watch and see who wins !

About the Author

Jonathan Moore

Jonathan Moore is a senior Business of Creative Enterprises major at Emerson College based in Boston,MA. He loves all forms of entertainment whether film, television or on the stage. He is currently studying at Emerson's Los Angeles campus.