Mad Max: Fury Road took the cinematic world by storm earlier this year, but is it Oscar-winning material? Nicholas Hoult who played Nux, revealed last week that he believes it can win big at the Oscars. And although it may be too soon to start having concrete opinions on this, we put it up for debate amongst our writers to explore and answer whether Fury Road deserves to win the Oscar for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards?
For me, it’s the best action movie since The Dark Knight, and that was the best action movie since Gladiator. But Fury Road is not just a great action movie. In just the same way as those other films, it feels like such a significant addition to the cannon of film, and left a vivid, indelible mark on me – the imagery (feeling almost like a moving painting much of the time) and tone being particularly poignant, transporting you into that desolate wasteland world, and frequently recollected by me when thinking back on the greatest films I’ve seen during my lifetime. The fact that a single scene – the fight sequence involving Max, Nux, Furiosa and the Five Wives – provided more entertainment in its thrillingly choreographed intricacy than any other film released so far this year, should be enough alone. – Theo’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD win Best Picture.
Given that it is the best film I’ve seen this year, I’d be hard pressed to put forward an argument against Mad Max winning the Oscar for Best Picture. It might not be the typical Oscar bait, but it boasts a technical brilliance we haven’t seen before. The Academy are likely to fall for the film’s special effects, which as everyone knows by now, avoids CGI wherever possible. Furthermore with the focus firmly on strong female roles and characters this year, we are yet to see anything close to the fearsome performance delivered by Charlize Theron as Furiosa. Sicario and Suffragette are being pushed as films that have positive female role models, but in reality they are deeply flawed films. – Cassam’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD win Best Picture.
You simply cannot underestimate the need to indulge in unadulterated excitement and pure entertainment on the silver screen. For all of the hard-hitting dramas, the studies of love, life, death and everything in-between, we need to immerse ourselves in features such as Mad Max: Fury Road. However, though offering a unique, exhilarating experience for all viewers – should this adrenaline fuelled action thriller take home the Best Picture at the Academy Awards? Sadly, I don’t think it should. To win this prestigious prize there needs to be more nuance; more depth to the narrative at hand. That’s not to say blockbusters should immediately be disregarded, because if an epic action thriller was the best movie of the year – then it should win – of course it should. But Mad Max: Fury Road is not the best film of the year. You’ll leave pumped, excited and will be shouting “What a lovely day!” at the top of your lungs for days afterwards, but to win such an award, you need to be able to move and compel in a way no film can match that year; to inspire the viewer, and to keep them thinking for days on end. Films such as Brooklyn, Room, Spotlight, 45 Years and Son of Saul – these are the special films that have such a deep, subtle meaning that should be enough to earn this top prize. Originality comes into play too, as to win such an award, really it needs to be a film that is innovative, resourceful and most importantly, new. Fury Road is of course a remake of the Mel Gibson endeavour back in 1979. It’s exemplary when it comes to rebooting films of old, to show how you can breathe new life into a dormant franchise – but at the same time, it’s not an original idea, and that works against the film’s chances. But that’s not to say Fury Road doesn’t deserve a nomination. To be considered amongst the 10 best films of the year is an accolade in itself, and one George Miller should be rewarded with. There are other categories too where this title should be recognised, particularly for John Seale, whose breathtaking cinematography is a joy to behold. But Best Picture should go to the best film – and Fury Road ain’t it. – Stefan’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD NOT win Best Picture.
George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road is an experience like no other. For 120 minutes you’ll find yourself both electrified and absorbed in this bizarre and yet totally believable world – it’s why we go to the cinema. But I’m not entirely convinced that it should win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, as the story at times seems secondary to the action. The star of the show, Tom Hardy, puts in a solid and impressively understated performance, but it doesn’t look like an Oscar-winning one. Whilst Fury Road is an incredible high-speed rollercoaster ride, it must be said that many movies have touched me more on an emotional level this year: films such as Brooklyn and Carol, for example. And we are still yet to see some strong contenders, including Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Iñárritu’s The Revenant and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight. I would certainly not contest Fury Road winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (unless Star Wars can top this) and George Miller should definitely be in the frame for Best Director, but it’s too early to say whether this blockbuster deserves to take home the main award. However, as one of the biggest and most exhilaratingly epic adventure films we’ve seen in a long while, no one would complain if it were to surprise us all and win the most prestigious annual prize in cinema. – Danny’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD NOT win Best Picture but isn’t totally against the idea.
Fury Road shouldn’t win because it would mean the first sci-fi to get the statuette for Best Picture. It also shouldn’t win because it’s somewhat of an outsider, an underdog-triumphs narrative just begging to be formed in the upcoming weeks. No: Mad Max: Fury Road should win, purely and simply, because it is the best picture of the year so far – and probably will remain so by 2015’s close (Star Wars included). Once you take away the noise – the ‘heated’ competitions; the celebrity glitz; hell, even the rules themselves – you are left with one image emerging from the settling dust: Max Rockatansky, grimy as ever, holding a tinkling Oscar in his hand. (Only for it to be quickly nabbed by Furiosa, speeding by in a blur in a heavily-modded auto.) When Fury Road ends up not winning the gold at next year’s ceremony, which will be entirely unsurprising, it won’t mean a damn thing. Why? Simply ask anyone who saw the film. – Gary’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD win Best Picture.
As the most visually astounding movie of the year, there’s little doubt that Mad Max: Fury Road will receive recognition for its cinematography, sound, editing, and special effects come Oscar time. A few technical nominations is the very least George Miller’s magnum opus deserves. However, in a perfect world, Mad Max: Fury Road would be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actress (Charlize Theron). Alas, the Academy is unlikely to recognise the film for one solitary reason: it’s an action picture. On the surface, Mad Max: Fury Road may seem like one giant car chase of epic preparations. On that basis, it’s easily one of the most enthralling, inventive, and unique chase movies of all time. What elevates the film to a whole new frontier, however, is the surprising depth of its narrative. Behind the nonstop insanity, there’s an astonishing amount of backstory and character development. Rather than hitting us over the head with plot details, though, Fury Road allows the audience to draw their own conclusions. In many respects, this is exactly what an action movie should do. The plot can be beyond simplistic and the action can be relentless, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still trigger a strong emotional response and make the audience think. George Miller has accomplished what so many other action directors like Michael Bay have failed to do. He has found the perfect balance in a perfect action picture. The Best Picture category isn’t called “Best Drama Picture.” It’s called “Best Picture.” This means that that the race should extend to call genres that break new grounds, ranging from animation, to comedy, to action. Mad Max: Fury Road isn’t just the best action movie of the year (although we still need to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens), it’s one best films in general and deserves to be recognised as such. – Nick’s verdict: Fury Road SHOULD win Best Picture but probably won’t.
George Miller’s picture is a non-stop visual assault, enforcing a chokehold on viewers and rarely letting go. The worldbuilding and characters aren’t paper-thin like many strict action movies, and the clever mix of CGI and practical effects bring the post-apocalyptic desert bowl to life. It’s fine cinema fused with ravenous violence that lashes forward relentlessly, revealing new surprises, subtle exposition, and effective supporting characters throughout. Immortan Joe is an ice cold badass with an imaginative look; Nux (Nicholas Hoult) steals the show as the volatile War Boy; and Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa acts as the soul of Fury Road. She’s a strong, tragic renegade who leads her precious Wives through the storm of firefights and twisted metal, gunning towards a promised oasis. And there’s Max himself, who mumbles a few lines but is ultimately overshadowed by the impressive surrounding figures in this colorful wasteland. Most of all, Fury Road didn’t bore at the cinema, which is more than I can say for most movies I’ve watched this year. Give John Seale a statue for his lavish frames; Miller a Best Director award for his near perfect action opus. He did, after all, manage to construct a two-hour chase film with a living, breathing mythos. It’s unforgettable. As for Best Picture, we still have to see The Revenant. – Nicholas’ verdict: Fury Road SHOULD MAYBE win Best Picture.
Overall verdict: It’s a majority for the prize as 4 of our writers think Mad Max: Fury Road should win Best Picture at The Academy Awards, 2 don’t and 1 is a Maybe. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.