Mad Max: Fury Road helped drive Australian films to a record-breaking year at the box office, so it’s no surprise that George Miller’s reboot of his iconic sci-fi franchise was the Aussie industry’s favorite this year, winning best film and best director honors at the fifth annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards, held Wednesday in Sydney.
Miller’s post-apocalyptic epic swept the AACTA craft awards last week, taking home six trophies, including for best visual effects and best cinematography for John Seale. Fury Road was the No. 1 Australian film at the local box office this year, raking in AUS$21.67 million ($16 million).
Further cementing its position as an awards-season contender, Fury Road was named best film by the U.S. National Board Of Review earlier this month, while it ha been shortlisted as one of 20 films in the visual effects category for the 88th Academy Awards.
Released in May, following its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the $150 million actioner has grossed $375.8 million worldwide.
While Fury Road came out on top, it was a triple win for Jocelyn Moorhouse’s The Dressmaker. Kate Winslet was named best actress for her role in the outback revenge drama, while Judy Davis and Hugo Weaving received nods in the supporting actress and actor categories. The pic, which has grossed more than $11.7 million at the local box office, also won the inaugural AACTA People’s Choice award. At the AACTA craft awards, The Dressmaker took home the prize for best costume design.
Best actor honors went to Michael Caton for his role as a dying taxi driver in Jeremy Sims’ Last Cab To Darwin.
AACTA presenters included Mel Gibson, who is currently in Sydney shooting Hacksaw Ridge. Rachel Griffiths and Dancing With the Stars winner Bindi Irwin also appeared.
Weaving and Richard Roxburgh took to the stage to present Cate Blanchett with the Australian film industry’s highest honor, the Longford Lyell Award, which recognizes an individual “who has made a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture.”
Tributes to the two-time Oscar-winner came from Blanchett’s Carol director Todd Haynes and her Truth co-star Robert Redford, among others, with Haynes calling her “a beacon, a galaxy and a mensch.”
Blanchett said of the recognition: “When I look at the outstanding men and women who have received this prestigious award before me, I am truly honored to be considered among venerable practitioners and performers creative spirits who have had a strong and lasting influence, not only on my work, but on what I thought creatively possible in this country.”