Mad Max Won All the Oscars, Except the Ones It Really Deserved

Illustration for article titled Mad Max Won All the Oscars, Except the Ones It Really Deserved

There was a brief moment during the Oscars where it looked like Mad Max: Fury Road might be on the way to getting the recognition it deserved as a truly groundbreaking, visually stunning film. Spoiler alert: It didn’t.

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As is so often the case for genre works, Mad Max: Fury Road won a boatload of behind-the-scenes awards—six of the seven (edited: this initially said five, it was a mistake) it was nominated for—but lost Best Director and Best Picture. Here are the Mad Max winners, which are richly deserved:

Film Editing: Margaret Sixel

Costume Design: Jenny Beavan

Makeup: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

Sound Editing: Mark Mangini and David White

Sound Mixing: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

Production design: Production design by Colin Gibson; set decoration by Lisa Thompson

All of these people did a truly amazing job making a goddamn miracle of a film. I am so glad they were recognized. And I’m also thrilled that no other movie won more awards than this one. But here’s the thing: With Mad Max being acknowledged as the year’s best in so many categories, why didn’t George Miller and the film as a whole deserve to win?

Reasonable minds can differ about the relative quality of the Best Picture nominees. There were a lot of great movies in the past year. But Mad Max: Fury Road was a masterpiece. It is a credit to the entire medium on every. Single. Level. The Oscars should have rewarded it, and George Miller, for doing absolutely everything right. Not most things. Everything.

Fury Road is a gorgeous movie—with a bunch of important underlying messages about autonomy, sexism, climate change, greed... Fury Road has everything, executed with a grace that is frankly astonishing. This movie makes impossible things look damn easy. Even its own backstory—the years Miller and co. spent laboring to get it done, in the face of mind-blowing setbacks—exhibit the best kind of filmmaking passion. There is not a single thing that the other nominees did, that Mad Max didn’t also do. Usually better.

Being angry at the Oscars is a pointless endeavor, since it’s an essentially pointless show. At the end of the day, Miller, and everyone who worked on the film, got to actually make their dream project. And people saw it, and loved it. But, goddamn, would it have been great for the people who make films to step up and acknowledge its brilliance. To encourage more filmmakers to reach as far as they did, and to achieve what might seem impossible.

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Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.

DISCUSSION

dragonfliet
dragonfliet

Alright, I’ll take the hate. Mad Max Fury Road is not that great of a movie. It’s smart for a blockbuster ‘splosion-fest, but it’s not actually all that smart. It HAS an ecological gimmick, but it doesn’t say anything about it. It HAS a sexist main hero and strong women, but it doesn’t really say anything about sexism. It does a good job of making a silly premise work surprisingly well, but it isn’t particularly new, unique or excellent.

It’s a very pretty film, and very very well done, but it’s not even a little bit close to a masterpiece. That nearly the entire third act is a straight up repetition of the first act (except in reverse!), only with less character, less intrigue, less thoughtful development and just a string of explosions seems to have been forgotten here. God. It was so tediously long. Look, more cars driving! And more! And More! Nothing new, just more of it! What’s pacing? What is character? Oh, uh, I guess we’ll have a noble sacrifice followed by the worst cgi effect of the film!

I really, really, really liked the film, but I really really liked it for what it was: a popcorn flick. This shouldn’t be taken as an insult, as being fun but not particularly deep is a great thing to be, and a welcome relief from other shallow things that are flat out dumb, or things that are deep or no fun, but come on.