Mad Max: Fury Road took home six Oscars last night despite it’s unusual heritage and genre. Many Oscar attendees were shocked as most of the earlier awards went to Fury Road. While some at the awards were shocked it did so well, many fans at home felt it should have done better, making a clean sweep of Oscar night. According to io9, the movie got every award but the ones it most deserved: Best Picture and Best Director.
The first Mad Max was released in 1979, cost $380,000 to make, and grossed approximately $100 million worldwide. It starred a young and virtually unknown Mel Gibson. George Miller, who served as co-writer and director, was obviously ahead of his time with this post-apocalyptic nightmare world, which he created without the benefit of all the great post-apocalyptic films that have been made since the original’s release.
Mad Max: Fury Road copied no other vision than that of the original filmmaker back in the 1970s. It isn’t some johnny-come-lately attempt to be trendy with climate change or any of the other popular political agendas — it was an idea that sprang from older ground. Perhaps the ecology movement of the 1970s was a bit of an influence, but even from the beginning, this prophetic movie was about the kind of corporate greed we see so clearly now and barely glimpsed then.
Mad Max shocked the 1970s, seeming almost out of place, and yet it reverberated with viewers in a way that kept them watching as the sequels rolled around. The Road Warrior and Beyond Thunderdome were very successful, although none of them got the least bit of attention from the Academy Awards.
Mad Max was a movie for young people. It was raw, revolutionary, and had little to do with the kind of people who gave out Oscars back then. It wasn’t a posh movie. The first movie and the first two sequels were low-budget B-type movies, at least in the eyes of those at the Academy. They were science fiction, ecology fiction or something like that, and those with money and power had no interest whatsoever in ridiculous post-apocalyptic futures. Back then, the common thought was that everything would only get better. Only those who were under 40 and perhaps a bit rebellious back then got the point, and so Mad Max developed a cult following among the young, who somehow felt Mad Max was an entirely possible scenario. In fact, among the cult following, it was commonly believed we’d live Mad Max conditions in our lifetime.
Today, Mad Max: Fury Road is gaining a new audience of young people. The New York Times gives us an awe-stricken review and synopsis of Mad Max: Fury Road with the wide-eyed shock teens felt when first seeing the original Mad Max. As one generation looks at Max from a historic perspective, yet another is seeing that world for the first time, and frankly, it seems more plausible than ever in the wake of recently exposed greed, corruption and climate change. This time, even those on the red carpet have to admit, it is much more plausible now. Young fans, Gen Xers, and younger have taken the movie to heart.
Mad Max visionary George Miller may indeed have deserved more than he got from the Oscars, but he will definitely be getting his share at the box office this time.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]