Oscar Preview: Weekend of May 15-17, 2015

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Mad Max: Fury Road

Before critics had a chance to see Mad Max: Fury Road, there was a decent chance that the film would show up in a number of below-the-line Oscar categories from Production Design, Costume Design, and Makeup & Hairstyling to Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Visual Effects. Everything changed when the reviews started coming in and they were exceptional.

The film currently sits (as of Sunday evening) at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes with a critics average of 8.8/10 based on 223 reviews (only 4 naysayers). On Meta Critic, the film has an impressive 89 rating, with 45 green ratings (18 of which are perfect 100’s) and 1 yellow. Those are impressive results. That isn’t as high as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but it’s higher than most prominent genre films of the last decade. What does this mean? It means that critics are willing to throw their weight behind a film that before this weekend seemed like another in a long line of franchise reboots and nothing more.

While the aforementioned six categories still seem like strong possibilities, a handful of other categories may have opened up to the film. Best Picture (unless they decide to change the rules this year) now has plenty of space for a well received genre film. Best Director’s a bit more iffy, but George Miller has a well respected career to give him a boost. Even if he can’t make the exclusive club, a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination could make up for that. Tom Hardy has gotten a lot of praise for his lead performance and could get a Best Actor mention, but most of the chatter I’ve been hearing surrounds Oscar winner Charlize Theron. Theron could follow in the footsteps of genre actresses like Sigourney Weaver and Kathy Bates to secure a coveted Best Actress nomination. A win is unlikely but it would showcase a shift in attitudes towards genre pictures, if there ever was one.

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