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5 Sleepers to Bet on at the 2021 Oscars

| February 16, 2021 8:44 am PDT
2021 Oscars Sleepers

Awards season is upon us. Things are heating up, with the Grammys, Golden Globes, and Oscars all hitting your TV screen in the coming months.

Each of these events have been pushed back, and the entire process of finding deserving nominees has been troublesome with an abnormal schedule.

The 2021 Oscars aren’t excluded from that interrupted process, and that’s contributed to some confusion as to which candidates have a real shot at winning select awards.

The glass is starting to defog, however.

With the 2021 Golden Globes nominations set and Oscars buzz growing louder, it’s becoming a lot clearer who will be in the mix for the most prestigious awards in film.

Looking to bet on the Oscars? You may want to locate some elite betting value, then. One way to do that is to hit on some 2021 Oscars sleepers.

I took a look at some Oscars sleeper picks back in April, but things have changed greatly. Needless to say, an updated 2021 Oscars sleepers post was needed.

Let’s see which 2021 Oscars value bets stand out the most and why you may want to bet on them.

Minari to Win Best Picture (+1200)

Nomadland enters the 2021 Oscars as the slight favorite to win Best Picture. The Trial of the Chicago 7 (+275) and Mank (+800) appear to be the top contenders at the best entertainment betting sites.

Any of those three films could win, but if you’re looking for an upset, look for something that hits the heart with zero mercy.

Nomadland does that, but at -130, where’s the upside? You can get it in spades with Minari, which tells the story of a likable Korean-American family trying to find their way in the Ozarks.

Led by a career-defining performance from Steven Yeun and constantly hijacked by professional scene-stealer Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari is a perfect blend of blunt reality, family ties, and unbridled aspiration.

Beyond this easily being one of the better movies of 2020 (97% score on Rotten Tomatoes), it’s worth noting that the Academy eats this stuff up, too.

Just look at the last five Best Picture winners at the Oscars.

Year Movie
2019 Parasite
2018 Green Book
2017 The Shape of Water
2016 Moonlight
2015 Spotlight

The common theme all of these movies share? They tug at the heartstrings in an unrelenting fashion.

The Academy loves biopics, period pieces, and films about serious emotional chaos. If the movie is done well and moves you, it has a shot.

It’s worth noting that Minari missed the cut at the 2021 Golden Globes. If it can sneak in as a nominee for the Oscars, though, it could be an interesting sleeper worth betting on.

Regina King to Win Best Director (+2000)

One of the other movies I considered sliding into this 2021 Oscars sleepers post is One Night in Miami, which has gained serious steam for its all-star ensemble.

There’s also something about icons like Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Malcolm X, and Sam Cooke all sharing the same room.

Oh, and it happened to have flawless guidance by first-time director Regina King.

Better known for her one-off hit HBO series Watchmen or If Beale Street Could Talk, King has also already displayed elite directing chops with this underrated Amazon gem.

It thrust King into the spotlight as one of the many impressive female directors already recognized by the Golden Globes.

The backdrop of a legendary moment in the world of boxing sets things up beautifully, and the acting talent on display is unsurprisingly phenomenal.

One Night in Miami could easily have come off as forced or choppy. It didn’t, and King’s impeccable voice in the context of this film is the reason why.

It’s not a safe bet to win her the Best Director nod, as Chloe Zhao is the clear front-runner for her own amazing work in Nomadland. However, at +2000, King is worth a roll of the dice at the 2021 Oscars.

Riz Ahmed to Win Best Actor (+750)

Another obvious bet is Chadwick Boseman to win Best Actor. He shined in understated fashion in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and following his death, it only makes sense to send him off with an Oscar.

Of course, there is a very real argument that Boseman’s performance wasn’t actually the best of the year. And Oscar’s upsets do happen.

If Boseman is to get passed over, bettors need to ask themselves what other performances were just too powerful to ignore.

That has me looking at Oscars value bets like Steven Yeun (+1400) and Gary Oldman (+1400), but the one that may stand out the most is Riz Ahmed.

Perhaps I’m trying to avoid double-dipping in the Minari pool here, but Ahmed has the third-best odds to win this award, and his +750 price is still awfully inviting.

That, and he handed in exceptional work as a drummer in the process of losing his hearing in Sound of Metal.

Ahmed’s powerful performance has given way to a pretty intense year, where he’s already racked up nominations for the Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and the SAG Awards.

That seems, um, good.

The obvious positive momentum is worth noting, while Ahmed has reportedly been neck-and-neck with Boseman in a lot of this voting.

Due to the on-screen performance, his general talent, and the odds at hand, Ahmed stands out as one of the best sleeper picks for the 2021 Oscars.

Vanessa Kirby to Win Best Actress (+800)

The same applies to the insanely talented Vanessa Kirby when it comes to betting on who will win Best Actress at the 2021 Academy Awards.

I’m not typically drawn to Shia Labeouf projects, but he’s worth drowning out in the background to get to Kirby’s gritty, open-like-a-wound portrayal of a grieving mother.

Pieces of a Woman is a case study on all-too-relatable real-life horror, and it’s pulled along down the road by brilliant acting performances.

Kirby takes the cake here, as she grabs us by the throat from the jump and takes the audience into that unwelcome nest of severe loss.

The content is brutal, but Kirby surveys its waters with earnestness and true care. It’s the type of performance I’d normally expect to get overlooked, but the fact that it’s here for bettors at +800 is extremely refreshing.

Kirby probably won’t win, but it’s quite arguable she should.

Chadwick Boseman to Win Best Supporting Actor (+1200)

If Chadwick Boseman gets upset for Best Actor – in his last shot at winning such an award – the Academy should at least find a way to honor him elsewhere.

He’s had a remarkable year even after his death, becoming the first actor to receive four nominations in one year at the SAG Awards.

That doesn’t guarantee he wins, but once the Oscars arrive, I’d guess he’s already looking down at a large pile of trophies.

Whether he gets the nod for Best Actor or not, his riveting work in Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods needs to be recognized, too.

His +1200 odds to win Best Supporting Actor suggest this won’t be where he earns everyone’s respect, but it’s arguable this was his best performance of the past year.

Just the grueling conditions alone take Boseman’s commitment to his craft, as well as his execution of a complicated role, to another level.

Here’s famed director Spike Lee on the late Boseman.

“It was 100 degrees every day [while shooting]. I understand why Chadwick didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to take it easy. If I had known, I wouldn’t have made him do the stuff.”

Lee is referencing the fact that Boseman hid his cancer struggle and continued to go full bore into the tiresome world of acting.

On a demanding set where he played the center figure that tied his band of brothers together, Boseman was captivating, and frankly, pretty badass.

This isn’t the Best Supporting Actor role that is being hyped, but Boseman propped up an entire plot, and he did so as a piercing ghost.

Betting Sleepers at the 2021 Oscars

There are a few other categories to bet on for 2021 Oscars, but I’ll stop my Oscars sleeper hunt at five viable value picks.

It’s quite unlikely – if not impossible – for all of my 2021 Oscars sleepers to come through for bettors. The point isn’t really about predicting or guaranteeing which 2021 Academy Awards sleepers will stage massive upsets, though.

It’s about noting clear value that has a case to be a surprise winner.

Each of the Oscars sleepers above has a very real case to map out a shocking win at the 2021 Oscars. That doesn’t mean they will, and with the final Oscars nominations not set for the major categories, it’s even possible some don’t even get the chance to try.

The biggest upsets in Oscars history always linger in the back of your mind as a bettor, though. Surprises do happen at the Academy Awards, and not every favorite ends up winning.

Consider all angles, look at performances and narratives, and dream big when betting on the Oscars this year.

Whether you want to bet on these 2021 Oscars sleepers or target other wagers, find out how and where to bet on the Oscars with my guide below.

Guide to Betting on the 2021 Oscars

The top awards shows have been pushed back further than usual, and the 2021 Oscars have not escaped that fate. You’ll still get your Academy Awards fix, but they’re coming in April. If your interest in the Oscars ends at simply wanting to bet on...

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Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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