George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road has just become the most successful Australian film at the Academy Awards of all time, taking six Oscars, for costume design, production design, makeup and hairstyling, best film editing, best sound editing and best sound mixing.
There may be more awards to come, with the film nominated for 10 awards all up.
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin received the award for makeup and hairstyling.
English costume designer Jenny Beavan, who Stephen Fry joked went to the BAFTAs just a fortnight ago dressed as “a bag lady”, started the haul for costume design, her second award 30 years after her first Oscar for Room with a View.
Vanderwalt, a long-time collaborator with Baz Luhrman, first worked with Miller on Mad Max 2: Road Warrior. Wardega and Martin specialise in prosthetic makeup, and have films such as Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Moulin Rouge!, and the three The Chronicles of Narnia movies to their credits.
George Miller’s South African-born wife, Margaret Sixel, took out film editing for her first action film. Sixel has been a vital collaborator with her director husband for more than 20 years, and he credits her for saving his bacon on Babe, as well as giving Happy Feet Two its structure. It was her first feature movie editing role since Happy Feet in 2006.
Miller previously stated that he wanted his wife of 21 years to edit the film so it wouldn’t look like every other action movie.
The Oscar adds to a swag of best editing plaudits for Mad Max: Fury Road, including the BAFTA Award and 21st Critics’ Choice Awards.
Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson won the Oscar for production design on Mad Max.
“It never ceases to annoy me how many people it takes to make me look competent,” said Gibson in accepting his award.
Mad Max: Fury Road took out a fifth Oscar for best sound editing and a sixth for best sound mixing, with Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo taking to the stage.
Osmo’s 40-year career as a dubbing mixer includes some of Australia’s best films, from Dead Calm, Babe, Strictly Ballroom and Rabbit-Proof Fence. It’s Rudloff’s third Oscar after Glory in 1989 and The Matrix a decade later, and also for fellow American Jenkins, who was recognised for Out of Africa in 1985 and The Last of the Mohicans in 1992.
Alas 73-year-old cinematographer John Seale, who came out of retirement to shoot Mad Max, and was nominated for cinematography, having previously won an Oscar for 1996’s The English Patient, missed out, with the Academy Award going to Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant.
There may be more awards in store for Mad Max: Fury Road, which set another record for the most successful Australian film after receiving an incredible 10 nominations, including best director for Miller, and is also in the running for best film.
More to come.