Tupelo resident Chris Beachum, 47, is senior editor of a Hollywood-based website focusing on awards shows.
Movers and shakers follow his opinions on GoldDerby.com, and they make sure he has access to Oscar-nominated movies. Studios send him DVDs or provide him with passwords so he can watch films online.
Coverage of the 2014 Academy Awards will begin at 6 p.m. today on ABC stations. Beachum spoke with the Daily Journal’s M. Scott Morris about the star-studded competition.
Q: What movies have the inside track for Best Picture?
A: The Best Picture race is the closest in over a decade. The winner will either be “12 Years a Slave” (with the weight and important message) or “Gravity” (huge box office and visuals). They actually tied at the Producers Guild, which has never happened before. My feeling is that “12 Years” will win the top prize, and “Gravity” will win Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón.
Q: What are the most competitive categories?
A: In addition to Best Picture, there are some very competitive categories this year. It seems like “Let It Go” from “Frozen” will win Best Original Song, but look out for U2 and their song “Ordinary Love” from the biopic about the late Nelson Mandela. For Best Original Screenplay, it is extremely tight between my pick “Her” (Spike Jonze) and “American Hustle” (David O. Russell). Many think Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) will win Best Supporting Actress, but only five people have ever won two acting Oscars in a row. The better prediction is Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”).
Q: Where are some potential surprises?
A: You are going to hear the word “Gravity” a bunch of times throughout the ceremony, but it will mainly be in technical categories. That has happened before with films like “Life of Pi,” “Hugo,” “The Matrix,” and even “Star Wars.” None of those actually won the Best Picture award, though. In terms of an upset, the most interesting category of the night is Best Actor. All five men deserve to win based on their performances and films. Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”) seems to be the favorite and has won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. But I am hearing a lot of support for Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”), and the veteran Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”). In a really split race, it could be a very thin margin for the person who actually goes on stage as an Oscar winner.