‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Named Best Film by National Board of Review

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Courtesy of Warner Brothers

The National Board of Review has named “Mad Max: Fury Road” as the best film of 2015.

It was an unexpected victory for the summer tentpole starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron, which received favorable reviews when it opened in May, but is seen as an awards season longshot. So far, most of the advanced buzz in this year’s Oscars race has focused on such indies as “Spotlight,” “Brooklyn” and “Carol” versus the box office goliath “The Martian.”

Ridley Scott received the best director award and Matt Damon best actor for “The Martian,” which is expected to be a major awards season player. Brie Larson picked up best actress for “Room,” the indie based on Emma Donoghue’s novel. Sylvester Stallone earned best supporting actor for “Creed” and Jennifer Jason Leigh nabbed best supporting actress for “The Hateful Eight,” Quentin Taraninto’s upcoming Western, which also took home best original screenaply.

The NBR winners are selected by about 120 film fans from New York (who cast their ballots via email or fax), and the organization has a mixed track record of predicting Oscars success. Last year, the NBR offered a left-field pick by awarding J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year” with best picture, actor (Oscar Isaac) and supporting actress (Jessica Chastain), only to see the picture get shut out completely at the Academy Awards. But the gala proved to be one of the early stops for eventual best actress winner Julianne Moore for her performance in “Still Alice.”

The honorees will pick up their statues at the NBR dinner on Jan. 5, 2016 in New York at Cipriani 42nd Street. “Today’s” Willie Geist will return as the evening’s emcee.

Here are the full list of winners.

Best Film: “Mad Max: Fury Road”
Best Director: Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
Best Actor: Matt Damon, “The Martian”
Best Actress: Brie Larson, “Room”
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, “The Hateful Eight”
Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “The Hateful Eight”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard, “The Martian”
Best Animated Feature: “Inside Out”
Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah, “Beasts of No Nation” and Jacob Tremblay, “Room”
Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano, “Mediterranea”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Son of Saul”
Best Documentary: “Amy”
William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecilia De Mille Presley
Best Ensemble: “The Big Short”
Spotlight Award: “Sicario” for outstanding collaborative vision
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “Beasts of No Nation” and “Mustang”

Watch Variety’s recent interview with “Mad Max” director George Miller:

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  1. The fact that they named Mad Max: Fury Road as best film completely discredits them. WTF?!

    Nothing new visually, nothing new effect-wise, almost ZERO story development, horrible dialogue, one long (and pointless) car chase, and nothing new stunt-wise.

    Seriously?! Outside of the casting choices it was the worst in the series and “meh”. I enjoyed it enough for watching it once but I won’t ever watch it again. HORRIBLE.

    There is literally no justification for it to be “best movie”.

  2. Apart from the fact that Mad Max was an excellent movie that surprised me with how good it was, people don’t seem to consider that maybe Mad Max was awarded by a review board for the same reason Birdman was awarded by critics–the process of filmmaking. Where Birdman was a single continuous shot which made for a feat in cinema, Mad Max was shot with practical effects that were both amazing and dangerous, real acrobats on real rigs, people in the sand and heat, not waiting in comfort but almost tortured to make what was effectively a beautiful cinematic piece.

    Also people need to go back to the very basics of cinema and realize Mad Max achieved a lot cinematically–it had a simple plot everybody could follow but was not shallow or stupid, it had nuances and great acting that brought out its subtleties, it had world building that was effective and clear without ever having to explain anything to establish it, it had cinematography the likes of which is rare except in very few talented directors, and the acting flowed beautifully and was easy to follow, not confusing and not messy but planned out in every shot. And when people get mad at Max not being the main action hero, they seem to forget that some of the greatest films and stories are about characters who are not the heroes of the story, but the ones who see the story through to the end and who are with the hero in their struggles, as the eyes of the audience rather than as a distant and unrelatable figure of power who affects the story in the end, but does not control it. And Max was just that in the last film too, wasn’t he?

    I can name a hundred reasons Mad Max was an amazing film, and so can the critics who saw it, and for all its complete distance from anything even close to an arthouse Indie film, loved it.

    It’s pretty similar to 2014’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which most people wrote off as a silly action film because of the ape on a horse with two machine guns, but was actually a well directed, intelligent, nuanced film despite half the cast being motion capture apes, as well, but I can say that Mad Max certainly was more effective as a whole.

  3. Jason says:

    Do you people not know the difference between a movie and a 2 hour action sequence? 98% on rotten tomatoes. ARE YOU INSANE? Sicario gets 91% but this big budget man candy gets 98%. And no critic anywhere as a problem with this. WOW.

  4. Johnson says:

    So two hours of nonstop explosions in a illogical post-apocalyptic universe is better than a movie with a real plot and based on real science? Okay, have it your way…

  5. Rodrigo says:

    Best picture – Mad Max? Lol..good joke it was entertaining film no doubt but what makes it to top tje list which has so many wonderful films like Spotlight which is the best at least The Martian should have been the best picture it had great moments but this is hilarious. And Best Actor Matt Damon yes I agree he was excellent in the film though it didn’t have more sad moments still Damon did a fantastic job it’s not easy to control the screen alone for almost 1 hour but he did it with ease one of the most charming performances in recent times. Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director are well deserved one. Why I am for Matt Damon is because anyways the Academy is sure gonna snub him this time so this award should at least complement his wonderful acting.

  6. 85wzen says:

    That’s odd they usually all think together…

  7. mikebilla says:

    That’s just crazy. Mad Max was a two hour music video at best….its plot had more holes than a golf course.

  8. LC Blair says:

    Were they joking? This was perhaps the WORST movie I’ve ever had the displeasure to see.

  9. Mildly Perturbed Max says:

    Lolwut? The whole plot was “let’s run away from that place…oh, there’s nothing here, let’s go back.” I mean, it was entertaining, but best film?

  10. As a reviewer myself I was not a fan of this film, however that being said to each their own–BUT Best Film??
    I personally saw so many better films than this one , there are even short films that were better.
    The Independent scene is what I like and horror never gets nominated for anything ever from many awards organizations such as this , it is a shame as there are also some decent horror films being made.

  11. Here come the whiners lamenting the win of a great film as Best Picture. Not high brow enough for them I guess. Maybe if it was Woody Allen directing and putting the big snooze on us they’d be almost orgasmic.

  12. Johnna Calverase says:

    I guess they have a different version of the one I saw on Netflix. I turned it off 1 hour into it.

  13. LindaDOliver says:

    When a movie has a tattooed and Mohawk metalhead hanging from wires in front of 12 giant speakers strapped to monster truck while playing a guitar that doubles as a flame thrower, well, if that’s considered best movie material then either those making that determination have been smoking way too much chronic or some cash changed hands. Could be both.

    • Kate H says:

      I love the idea of LindaDOliver sitting furiously through each new film she sees waiting for that moment when “a tattooed and Mohawk metalhead hanging from wires in front of 12 giant speakers strapped to monster truck while playing a guitar that doubles as a flame thrower” so that she can strike it off her list of worthy films. It’s been a long and disappointing quest, but finally she’s been vindicated.

  14. Patrick says:

    Mad Max best picture? Who makes up this board, a bunch of 12 year olds? God that movie was awful. The trailers spoiled every single action shot and the rest was just plain ignorant.

  15. Sean says:

    This was by far the worst movie I’ve ever had to sit through! I could watch a Sci Fy movie marathon with a huge smile on my face as long as I knew I would never have to see Fury Road again. Bring on the sharks!!!

  16. TMW says:

    The Big Short wins Best Ensemble? Uh huh. Time for Kris Tapley to start including it in his pieces about contenders, then. It could very well beat the Spotlight cast for the SAG Award, too.

    • Tender Puppy! says:

      Unlikely. The group of people who select these winners are NOT the Academy or the actors’ guild. I’d enjoy seeing TBS do well, but with Spotlight still a major contender for the BP win, the ensemble cast award often goes in tandem.

  17. David Beltran says:

    Pues felicidades al director, pero a mi no me gustó. Para los gustos los colores, no es mi tipo de pelicula, ni la original, ni ésta.

  18. Sharon says:

    Well deserved, Mad Max: Fury Road was awesome!!!!

  19. Sophie says:

    Amazing choices for Mad Max and Brie Larson, wonderful!

  20. bropous says:

    Come on, now.

    Out of ALL this year’s films, “Mad Max: Fury Road” was the BEST film?

    By WHAT criteria?

    Come on. Marvel Studios’ “Ant Man” was a FAR better film. And Michael Douglas a FAR better supporting actor. “The Martian” was just SO much more of a film than “Fury Road”.

    “National Board of Review”???

    More like “National Board of Thirteen Year-Olds With a Stiffie”…

    Come on.

    THIS is held up as the standard to which other films should be measured??????

  21. Greg says:

    How were all of these “film fans” able to see The Hateful Eight?

  22. hooloo says:

    This was a horrible movie.

  23. Pass the vomit bag. I didn’t think anyone could make a bad Mad Max movie until I saw Fury Road. I love Mad Max, I love George Miller and I think Tom Hardy is a great actor. Their efforts resulted in a movie that was like a bad comic book scribbled out by an artist tripping on the world’s strongest acid.

    When a movie has a tattooed and Mohawk metalhead hanging from wires in front of 12 giant speakers strapped to monster truck while playing a guitar that doubles as a flame thrower, well, if that’s considered best movie material then either those making that determination have been smoking way too much chronic or some cash changed hands. Could be both.

    Fury Road was a ridiculous and pathetic mess.

  24. eddie willers says:

    I didn’t go see it because Charlize Theron’s head looked like George Brett’s bat.

  25. LAguy says:

    I think Mad Max was beautifully directed and that award would have been more fitting than Best Picture. And while I thought The Martian was entertaining and well crafted, I thought there were much better choices this year, including Best Actor. Damon was likable and fun to watch but as an acting performance it didn’t feel like much of a stretch and he’s done much stronger work elsewhere. But movies are subjective and opinions will always vary so why are these comments so negative and personal? Why bring politics into this? Can’t we just have an intelligent conversation about the movies?

  26. Sheila Smith says:

    Everything about this movie was bad and it went almost straight to online streaming
    Terrible acting, terrible directing…….
    The “awards” are all funded by the same people who make the movies. The give themselves awards as part of their promotion of the movies.

  27. pauloutlaw says:

    I had no idea there was such an overlap between the MRM and the new InContention readership…

  28. illinoisatlarge says:

    The greater the sleaze, the greater must be the inherent quality. The people creating this have no real excuse except their own prurient tastes.

  29. Victoria says:

    Why wasn’t there more recognition for “Spotlight?” But the National Review Board has ALWAYS been out of touch

    • GKWilly says:

      Max was the stupidest friggin’ movie of 2015. Max was a 2ndary character, should have been called Charlize going in circles.

  30. Randy says:

    It was GARBAGE. I didn’t even want to finish watching it.

    • Chili Boots says:

      Absurdly delusional. One of the worst films I have ever seen. Even “Inside Out” was better,
      and I despise Amy Poehler. Talk about ‘out-of-touch’ with Reality.

  31. Jimmy Franks says:

    Brilliantly shot and directed movie. Story? Who cares. This flick was an action epic. Well deserved tribute from the NBR. Oscar nomination to come.

  32. Mike Moors says:

    I wonder what movie they were watching? Charlize Theron does the heavy lifting here and Tom Hardy makes Mel Gibson look like Laurence Olivier. Special effects and action scenes must be good enough for Best Film award, as the movie was completely void of a coherent plot or credible acting.

  33. Ann Rouse says:

    Mad Max was a JOKE….Theron can’t act AT ALL. What a loser BIMBO !!!! Movie sux !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  34. leeuniverse says:

    “Best Film”….? What drugs are they on? Yes, it was actually decent, but not even “that” good.

  35. Clearly the Progressive Marxist elite in NYC have selected their favorite “Social Justice” film for the win…. There’s a reason no one went to see it… No one likes to be preached to, in a film disguised as entertainment but in reality is a huge dose of feminization propaganda.

    • Oh FFS says:

      Yup. 400 million world wide and the #2 highest grossing R rated movie of all time. No one came to see it because, feminism. I think you doth protest to much, Mr. MRA.

  36. Buzzcut says:

    Good call. It is.

  37. Mikey C says:

    This was the worst Mad Max movie.

  38. alexandron says:

    Whoever chose this as best film must be on the left side of the bell curve for IQs.

  39. Mad Dubose says:

    Good grief it’s one of the worst films of the year. A pointless, endless car chase with dull acting, a dull script and hackneyed props, stunts and wardrobe. Useless.

    • WhatThePuck? says:

      I thought it was going to actually be a sequel to Mad Max, which it wasn’t. No story, at all. Only what has been described very well above. For people who never got to watch the original it’s safe to say they were totally lost. Disappointed, yet understand why these days this kind of action movie is popular. Next …

  40. Anon says:

    NONSENSE SHEEPLE! Your cultural MASTERS in Hollyweird have proclaimed and ordained this film as the BEST! Please report to your nearest theater, your money in hand to show your support for their wise judgement! That is all…

    • Oh FFS says:

      This was created in Australia and Africa. Any time you see a moving image on a screen doesn’t mean it has anything to do with Hollywood.

  41. crossie says:

    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes, and oh my God, Variety, your commenters SUCK!

  42. Louis Latour says:

    What a joke. The WORST..

  43. Enuf Alrdy says:

    Seriously? I didn’t even make it through the whole movie the first time I watched it. It was rather boring compared to the originals. This is a movie I’ll never watch again, unlike the hundreds of other films in my library. I’m just glad I didn’t go to a theater to watch it!

  44. Bill B. says:

    I have no problem with it. I thought it was the most exciting movie I’ve seen this year. Having said that, I think it deserved a best director award more than a best picture award.

  45. cleo48 says:

    Wow. They can’t be serious. Best film? What kind of children can that board possibly composed of?

  46. Victoria says:

    What nonsense. Spotlight was far superior and should win the Oscar

  47. Max Roberts says:

    Good Lord…the worst Mad Max movie (should have been titled: Furiosa, featuring Mad Max as her assistant) and it’s picked as the best movie of the year. A long, boring chase against villains no one cared about and tepid henchmen. Contrast them to the bad guys in The Road Warrior. The “Road Warrior” giving up a kill shot to a one-armed woman. X-Games level bikers take off their helmets only to be revealed as 75-year old women.I laughed out loud at that point. The same old women fight off an army of armed young men. My guess is that is why it was picked as the best film…it was a politically correct Mad Max.

  48. Kay Flyte says:

    Went to Mad Max. It stank.

    Will probably rent Creed and Martian eventually. The rest of them… ehhh, no.

  49. Brad says:

    How is this possible….it was terrible, especially compared against the originals.

  50. David Baker says:

    They must have watched a totally different movie than what I saw. After seeing the good reviews, I saw this movie with expectation. I was very disappointed.

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