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When Mad Max: Fury Road was named the National Board of Review’s best film of the year in December, the movie’s director George Miller was among those surprised by the result.
“My jaw dropped because I didn’t expect it,” Miller told The Hollywood Reporter of his reaction to his post-apocalyptic blockbuster receiving the NBR’s top honor. “The film was released back in May last year, and this was the first award that I think opened up a thought that this film is sticking around somehow. I mean, I was delighted. The movies I like are the ones that follow you out of the cinema for the longest, that you don’t forget by the time you get to the [parking lot]. What I think this indicates is that the film is sticking with people, and that’s a real compliment to our work. I don’t know what we did right, but we did something right because it’s still around.”
As for why the movie is sticking with people, Miller offered, “I think the film is allegorical, so there’s a lot of stuff below decks. You could read the film on the surface or you could see the analogies that are in play and you can take what you want from the movie. I hope that’s the case, but I don’t really know.”
Also surprised by his film remaining in the awards conversation was Creed director Ryan Coogler.
“We hoped it would connect with audiences — anytime you make something, you do — but to have it connect with audiences and critics is something special,” Coogler told THR on the red carpet ahead of Tuesday night’s NBR awards gala. “It’s hard to do, so we’re honored that that’s the case.”
He added, “What we were trying to do was make something personable and relatable — it’s something very specific — and make the characters real, so I hope that’s what people are connecting with.”
During the ceremony, Sylvester Stallone accepted the best supporting actor award for his work in Creed, but Room‘s young star Jacob Tremblay, who shared breakthrough performance honors with Beasts of No Nation‘s Abraham Attah, stole the show.
Ahead of the ceremony, Tremblay shared with THR what his awards season has been like so far.
“The experience is really fun and this is really a cool thing to happen to me,” he said. “I really didn’t expect this and it just made me really happy.”
As for The Martian producer Simon Kinberg, who was on hand to celebrate the film’s three NBR awards, all of the accolades that film receives are a bonus as far as he’s concerned.
“It’s all new to me because, to be honest, most of the movies I work on, they’re less awards movies, more mainstream popcorn movies and Martian‘s one of those rare movies that does both: It’s a popcorn movie but also critically lauded. So it’s all kind of gravy to me at this point,” he said.
Despite the many awards and nominations The Martian has received, the film’s mention in the best musical or comedy category at this weekend’s Golden Globes has raised some eyebrows. But Kinberg noted that the pic has funny moments.
“When you watch the movie with audiences, they laugh a lot. Between drama and comedy, there’s always a unique tone, so with some drama, some comedy, we ended up picking it to go in the comedy category,” Kinberg told THR of the category selection.
Also making the scene at the NBR gala were many of the castmembers from financial dramedy The Big Short, and they talked about the real-life inspirations for their characters.
Hamish Linklater, Finn Wittrock, Rafe Spall and John Magaro all said they met the real people they played, but both Wittrock and Magaro said they relied largely on Michael Lewis’ non-fiction book, on which the film is based, to get a handle on the people and concepts represented in the movie.
“I met the real Charlie from the film, and I think I took the book more as my template,” said Magaro. “The book describes him in kind of an unflattering way, and the real Charlie is actually much more charming, much more handsome than he’s portrayed in the book and a really sweet guy. So I can’t say that I was trying to emulate him at all.”
Adepero Oduye, who played Morgan Stanley executive Kathy Tao, said her character was “an amalgamation of a bunch of women who worked on Wall Street,” and as she researched what it’s like to be a successful woman in such a male-dominated field, Oduye said she was pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie she discovered.
“I read a lot and I was actually surprised to see how many women were involved in Wall Street and how much women of color were involved,” said Oduye. “That’s actually like a community of women who come together and support each other in Wall Street.”
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