Announcing Malibu’s Movie Guru

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Malibu Movie Guru 2020 Courtney Chapman poses with a painting of the Malibu Adamson House she rescued from the Woolsey Fire.

Courtney Chapman has definitively proven she is Malibu’s “Movie Guru.” The 54-year-old Chapman was awarded this most honorable title this week after beating all other contenders in The Malibu Times’ annual Academy Awards contest. And this is her third time correctly choosing the most Oscar winners in TMT’s annual balloting contest.

In 2017, Chapman won in a three-way tie and two years ago swept the award outright by correctly predicting 19 of the 20 categories in the glittering Oscars ceremony telecast—the yearly highlight of Hollywood.

This year’s win for Chapman, although not her most stunning (she missed two biggies—best picture and best director) is still a sweet victory nonetheless, coming at a time when she could use a pick-me-up. Chapman lost her home in the Woolsey Fire and has been displaced from Malibu for more than a year.

The woman with a knack for picking Oscar winners said she’s been a movie buff “my whole life.” She said she grew up watching movie musicals. 

“Movies like ‘My Fair Lady’ were a big deal when I was a kid,” she said. Of course Chapman still likes movies and will catch on average two theatrical releases a week.

She thought this year’s crop of films were strong contenders for Oscar gold and had a few favorites. 

“I’m not a huge Quentin Tarantino fan, but I thought that was a great movie—a little violent for my taste, but that’s Quentin Tarantino’s style,” she weighed in. “I thought ‘Parasite’ was such an interesting, different type of movie, but I never thought it would win best picture. ‘Ford vs. Ferrari’ I really liked too.

“I think we were all shocked when ‘Parasite’ won—that a foreign language film with subtitles could win best picture,” she said. “That’s a first, as far as I know. It was so different and not your typical Oscar-type movie. Since it was nominated for best foreign film, I never thought it would win both categories. It was a nice surprise for the Oscars. I loved Bong Joon-ho’s speech. He was so gracious, the way he said he wished he had a sledgehammer or chainsaw to cut it in five pieces to share with the other nominees. Most people acknowledge the others, but they never go quite that far.” 

Chapman speculated on where her penchant for picking winners comes from. 

“Maybe because I see a lot of movies and I see them more than once sometimes, if I really like them,” she said. Her fiancé is a movie buff, too. “Now I have someone who wants to see movies as much as I do,” she said. “It’s a good combination.” Chapman has been known to consult her fiancé about her choices when voting. “He usually agrees with me. Also, I’ve definitely voted for movies I thought the Academy [of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences] would vote for. 

“I think sometimes the academy [gives] awards for a body of work,” she continued. “By the time a person gets an Oscar, it might not have been their best performance, but they had four or five good performances previously then they finally win the Oscar.”

As a member of the Director’s Guild, Chapman is able to watch a lot of movies on screeners, but she also makes it to theaters quite often.

“My kid is a big history buff. ‘1917,’ not only did we see it in the theater, but we watched it at home for the second time,” she said.

As the 2020 Movie Guru, Chapman wins a membership to the Malibu Film Society. 

“I’m so excited I now have another place to go see movies, because there’s no other cinema in Malibu—how sad,” she said. “We’ve been going to Woodland Hills, Calabasas, Agoura or even Santa Monica ,depending on the movie.” 

Chapman is anxious to return to her Malibu home.

“The process of getting a permit and rebuilding has been brutal,” she said. “Most people would have probably thrown in the towel by now. The fire was hard—to go see everything you owned in a pile of ash.” Chapman said she’s grateful to have evacuated with some of her late parents’ paintings. They were artists and their work is very meaningful to her. “Thank goodness I saved a few of their precious paintings. If I didn’t have those, it would be a total loss.” 

As Movie Guru, Chapman will also receive a gift certificate to Saddlepeak Lodge. 

“I’m just in shock I won again,” she said. “I love movies and I love Malibu.”