Oscar nominations are out, and a lot of the talk is focused on the movies and performances that were snubbed.
But there’s a blessing in there, too: “Mad Max: Fury Road” nabbed 10 Oscar nominations, including best picture and director — a feat that’s extremely rare for a summer action movie (the last two times were “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” in 2004 and “District 9” in 2010).
George Miller’s return to the “Mad Max” franchise, with Tom Hardy taking over the title role that Mel Gibson made his own in the 1980s, was a hit for critics as well as general audiences. It took in over $375 million worldwide in its theatrical run, and it topped a lot of year-end lists.
Thanks to its strong-willed female protagonist paired with Mad Max (played by Charlize Theron), an insane extended vehicle chase over a wasteland, and incredible sound design and visual effects, the movie grew a following that became dedicated to keeping it in the conversation when awards season came along many months later.
A best movie win from the National Board of Review in December began the momentum to an Oscar nomination, with BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globes nominations following.
There were certainly detractors. One Oscar voter told Business Insider late last year that he would not vote for “Mad Max” because he thought “it was really stupid.” And he said that other voters he spoke to weren’t going to vote for it either.
But those naysayers were obviously in the minority.
On Thursday, when the Oscars nominations were announced, the film didn’t just receive nods for sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects, costume design, and production design — the more expected technical categories — but it also landed the most prestigious two categories, best directing and best picture.
In a year when fellow summer blockbusters “Jurassic World,” “Furious 7,” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” made more money, “Fury Road” is that rare summer release that grabbed the attention of both fans and the fickle Academy voters.
Maybe all isn’t lost for Max after all.