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December 15, 2019, GMT+0000, 19:32 pm
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Willem Dafoe’s Lighthouse a Lively Outsider for Best Picture Oscar

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After a flurry of premieres and releases at the end of September, the Academy Award Best Picture market has settled into a familiar shape over the last few days, with the long-time market favourite The Irishman returning to its place at the head of the odds, where it is the clear 7/2 favourite. 

But the Oscars have thrown up their share of surprises over the years. None of the last four Best Picture winners went into the ceremony as the favourites, so there is plenty of time for other contenders to enter the picture, and one of the most intriguing options for Best Picture punters is Robert-Eggers directed The Lighthouse starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. 

The film is in black and white, but that would be no hindrance to Best Picture recognition. The Academy Awards judges famously plumped for the black and white movie The Artist in 2012, and prior to that, Schindler’s List (1994) and The Apartment (1960) flew the black and white flag. 

The movie is billed as a horror, based on a story about two lighthouse keepers whose sanity begins to break down under the weight of their isolation, and judging by the critical reaction, it’s a story that packs a big punch. Following the premiere at Cannes in May, Dafoe was widely praised for his performance, but, perhaps more surprisingly, Pattinson has also earned plaudits, with one critic even comparing it to Daniel Day Lewis’s role in There Will Be Blood. 

The Lighthouse is due for release on October 19, although its unlikely to be a box office sensation, so any shortening of its current price of 16/1 will have to come through critical word of mouth. 

And it faces some stiff competition. The Irishman has been dominating Oscar discussions most of the year and its combination of US political intrigue, mafia machinations and the reuniting of Martin Scorsese, Robert de Niro and Al Pacino gives it impeccable Best Picture credentials. 

But if the mood among Academy Awards judges turns against Scorsese’s epic, in favour of something a little less obvious, then The Lighthouse could be perfectly placed to take full advantage, so Oscars punters will be following the film’s fortunes closely for the rest of the year.  

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