Mad Max: Fury Road Takes FIPRESCI’s Grand Prix

charlizetheron_furyroadDon’t mind me – just steamrolling through awards season (photo via Tech Times)

So, a funny thing happened recently: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road won the International Federation of Film Critics’ (FIPRESCI) Grand Prix over obvious critic bait like The Assassin, Son of Saul, and Taxi.

Despite the rave reviews and audience love that showered the film upon its Cannes premiere, the fact that Fury Road – an action-franchise installment/revival – won this prestigious critical prize is kind of a big deal. For further evidence of that, check out the previous Grand Prix winners after the jump. Bold denotes films that were nominated for major Oscars; gold denotes films that won major Oscars.

  • 2014: Boyhood – won supporting actress; nominated for picture, director, original screenplay
  • 2013: Blue is the Warmest Color
  • 2012: Amour – won foreign-language film; nominated for picture, director, actress, original screenplay
  • 2011: Blue is the Warmest Color
  • 2011: The Tree of Life – nominated for picture, director
  • 2010: The Ghost Writer
  • 2009: The White Ribbon – nominated for foreign-language film
  • 2008: There Will Be Blood – won actor; nominated for picture, director, adapted screenplay*
  • 2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
  • 2006: Volver – nominated for actress
  • 2005: 3-Iron, or Bin-Jip
  • 2004: Notre musique
  • 2003: Uzak
  • 2002: The Man Without a Past – nominated for foreign-language film
  • 2001: Dayereh, or The Circle
  • 2000: Magnolia – nominated for supporting actor, original screenplay**
  • 1999: All About My Mother – won foreign-language film

*The film hit U.S. theaters and consequently received its Oscar accolades in 2007.
**The film hit U.S. theaters and consequently received its Oscar accolades in 1999.

Fury Road will sit out of the foreign-language race for obvious reasons. But even if you ignore the nominations and wins in that category, six of the last 15 Grand Prix winners went on to major Oscar attention; four of the five English-language winners pulled it off (only The Ghost Writer missed), though two did so before winning this award.

Regardless of how you frame this win, the award puts Fury Road in some highly regarded company. While Warner Bros. may strike Oscar gold with David Gordon Green’s Our Brand is Crisis, Scott Cooper’s Black Mass, and/or Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea, the Grand Prix win for Fury Road suggests that it’s an all-out awards player, despite my initial skepticism.

Of course, this would require WB to campaign (rerelease???) the film. Its best bets for attention lie in the crafts categories, but assuming there’s enough year-end support from the critics, Miller and Charlize Theron could respectively land director and actress nominations. A push for Fury Road may even keep Tom Hardy on voters’ minds if he enters the supporting-actor fray for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant.

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