Even the most optimistic individuals could not have predicted the level of success Mad Max: Fury Road had when it was released in May 2015. The film raked in $375.8 million at the worldwide box office and was hailed as the next action movie classic by critics (read our review). In addition, Fury Road became a surprising – but welcome – player on the awards circuit, scoring 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director (among several other accolades).
As fans wait to see how the film performs at this year’s Oscar ceremony, Mad Max has won big with a different Academy. The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) handed out their International Awards on January 29, 2016, and Fury Road took home the top prizes of Best Picture and Best Director.
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, saying that Fury Road also won these honors when the AACTA handed out their Domestic Awards last month. Director George Miller is a native of Australia, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the organization was eager to reward one of their own. Even though some may raise an eyebrow at Fury Road winning both the Domestic and International Best Picture trophies, few are going to complain that one of the past year’s most beloved films took home more awards.
While this is a nice moment for Mad Max, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the film is now the presumed favorite to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The AACTA has a decent track record when it comes to picking Oscar winners, but they’re not one of the most telling precursors. Many award pundits look to the Producers Guild of America to get a better idea of how the Oscar race is shaping up, meaning that Adam McKay’s The Big Short (which won this year) is the frontrunner right now. That doesn’t mean Fury Road is in any danger of going home empty handed, however. Miller is one of the top candidates to win Best Director, which would be an impressive accomplishment for a summer genre movie.
Other winners at the AACTA International Awards include Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor for The Revenant), Rooney Mara (Best Supporting Actress for Carol), and Spotlight for Best Screenplay. In a twist, Cate Blanchett topped heavy Oscar favorite Brie Larson (Room) for Best Actress (for her performance in Carol). But it’s worth pointing out that like Miller, Blanchett hails from Australia as well. That could have played a role in her victory, so those of you with Larson in your office Oscar pool need not fret (yet).
Any other awards Fury Road wins from this point has to be considered icing on the cake. At one point, there was some question as to whether or not the film would even get made. When it was ready for release, it was thought to just be an R-rated niche film, but it ended up taking the industry by storm. By any measure, Fury Road is one of 2015’s defining cinematic accomplishments, exceeding expectations and raising the bar for the action movies that will follow.
Check out the full list of AACTA International Award winners below:
AACTA International Award for Best Film
Mad Max: Fury Road
AACTA International Award for Best Direction
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
AACTA International Award for Best Screenplay
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
AACTA International Award for Best Lead Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
AACTA International Award for Best Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actor
Mark Rylance, Bridge Of Spies
AACTA International Award for Best Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, Carol
Mad Max: Fury Road is now available on Blu-ray.