1917 Leads Oscars Best Picture Odds After Latest Market Moves

1917 Leads Oscars Best Picture Odds After Latest Market Moves
© PA
1917 director Sam Mendes has seen his film receive 10 nominations at the 2020 Oscars (© PA Images)

So far betting on the destination of the Best Picture Oscar, the showpiece prize at the 92nd Academy Awards, has been money for old rope for the bookmakers.

While the chaos may be calming, the volume of Oscars bets and money traded on the event is sure to surge over the coming days.

1917, available at 12/1 in December with William Hill – four weeks before its release – is now the red-hot favourite. But it’s current 4/7 price does represent a big drift as it was top-priced 4/11 earlier in the week.

Parasite, attempting to become the first subtitled non-English speaking film to win this award, is the second favourite (9/2) having been 25/1 when introduced into the betting in September.

Headed the other way in the betting is Joker, which was 4/1 in September but is now 12/1. Meanwhile, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is out to 8/1 having gone odds-on in a few spots just three weeks ago.

Similarly, The Irishman, which was 7/4 at the turn of the year, is now available at 66/1. Marriage Story, 9/2 at the end of November, is out to 100/1. Who wouldn’t want to be bookmaker on a volatile market like this?

Match Race?

It’s pretty clear this is now a two-runner race with market principles 1917 and Parasite having the key form in the book. Here’s the tale of the tape:


  • Premiered in the UK on 4 December 2019
  • Released in the United States on December 25
  • Budget $100 million
  • Box office take to date: $250 million
  • 10 nominations at this year’s Oscars
  • Won Best Motion Picture at the Golden Globes
  • Won Best Director at the Golden Globes
  • Won seven awards at the British Academy Film Awards
  • Won the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture


  • Premiered in Cannes May 21 2019
  • Released worldwide at various dates from June onwards
  • Released in the United States on October 11 2019
  • Budget $11 million
  • Box office take to date: $165 million
  • Six nominations at this year’s Oscars
  • Won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes
  • Won Best Film Not in English at the British Academy Film Awards
  • Won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The Form Pointers

Most with a casual interest in the movie award season will know there is a strong correlation between the Golden Globe results and the corresponding accolades at the Oscars.

However, in recent times, relatively few films have taken both awards in the ‘Best Film’ category. They are: Moonlight (2016), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Argo (2012), Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). On this basis, as a form indicator, 1917 is way too short at its current price.

In fact, it can be argued the ‘Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture’ at the Screen Actors Guild Awards is a better piece of litmus paper.

It was won by Parasite less than three weeks ago and its producers will be hoping they can join Spotlight (2015), Birdman (2014), Argo (2012) and The King’s Speech (2010) in taking both awards.

Interestingly, Screen Actors Guild Award voters make up the biggest block of Oscar voters, which goes part way to explaining the results overlap.

The Time Has Come?

Neither of the front-runners are conventional contenders. 1917 only just made the Oscar deadline by a few days and Parasite is a non-English speaking movie – there has never been a Best Picture winner which has been subtitled.

But Roma was odds-on to win this Oscar with online bookmakers twelve months ago and while it failed, it still collected three Academy Awards and many believe a ‘foreign film’ will collect the headline award sooner rather than later.

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