What odds do comedians have on winning an Oscar at the 90th Academy Awards?

Many people thought, or at least hoped that Tiffany Haddish would receive an Oscar nomination for her breakout performance in last year’s movie, Girls Trip.

Haddish didn’t make the cut, although The Academy knew well enough to invite her not only to read the nominations, but also show up as a presenter for the 90th annual Academy Awards when they air live on ABC on Sunday, March 4, 2018. (https://www.oscars.org/oscars/ceremonies/2018)

It’s tough for comedians and comedic actors to get Oscar’s attention.

This year, Jordan Peele earned well-deserved recognition for writing and directing one of the truly great motion pictures of 2017, the satirical horror film Get Out. How Lil Rel Howery, the film’s true hero and comic relief, didn’t also sneak in as a Best Supporting Actor nominee is beyond me. But then again, I don’t yet have an Oscar vote. Meanwhile, Academy voters commended husband and wife comedians Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon for adapting their real-life love story from more than a decade ago into an up-to-date romantic comedy that’s both romantic and funny in The Big Sick.

Some may argue from time to time that comedy should receive its own Oscar category(ies), or bring up quotes about how comedy is more difficult to pull off than drama.

I’d rather not create too many categories and niches, instead letting the best performances get singled out for how best they are.

So here we are. The 90th Academy Awards. What are the official odds for each of the nominees up for Oscars in 2018?

Whether you’re betting in Vegas, online, or just in an office pool, here are my two cents on what chances our comedy friends stand of delivering an Academy Award acceptance speech this year:


Peele is up against Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Look. Get Out was great. Lady Bird was great. Dunkirk was greatly told in three different timelines that converge in one day of World War II. I have no interest in watchingPhantom Thread despite great reviews, but I’ll probably see it eventually on HBO or Netflix, and take your word for it in the meantime. But del Toro’s The Shape of Wateris a marvel. Even if someone showed me a short film online that somehow mirrors the general plot years earlier. Peele’s odds are thus long. I give del Toro a 90 percent chance of winning. Split the other 10 percent among the other four. So Peele has a 2.5% chance of winning the Best Director Oscar!

Original Screenplay

This is the one category where being a comedian or a comedic writer is not considered a drawback, as the Oscars generally recognize great writing when they read it. Great news for Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, right?

That said, for every nomination for Bridesmaids or an animated film or Wes Anderson flick, it’s rarer for funny writers to actually, you know, win. Although Ben Affleck and Matt Damon won a writing Oscar, so anything’s possible! Gerwig, like Gordon and Nanjiani, looked at her own life and teen years in Sacramento for Lady Bird’s inspiration. Peele and del Toro are nominated here, too. There’s a chance Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri racks up a bunch of wins, even though I have a sneaky suspicion may be viewed years hence as 2017’s version of Crash. Martin McDonagh is probably the frontrunner for this trophy, though. I put del Toro and Vanessa Taylor in fifth place for The Shape of Water. Peele wrote the most original screenplay of the year, though. I’d put my money on him to win for Get Out, although if there’s a major vote split, that could work in my friends’ favor and give The Big Sick a big win.

My percentages in place of odds for this category? 40 percent, Three Billboards; 35 percent, Get Out; 15 percent, The Big Sick; 10 percent, Lady Bird; 5 percent, The Shape of Water.

Just remember, you can’t actually take my predictions to a bank. Banks don’t deposit predictions.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →