I highly doubt anyone in Hollywood expected this sweep!  Last week, we reported that George Miller’s post-apocalyptic franchise reboot, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ starring Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron had landed the top honors with the prestigious National Board of Review.  Now the gritty summer popcorn flick has landed even more hefty accolades!

Moving toward the end of the year, we are entering award season, when the movies released throughout 2015 are rewarded for excellence.  Almost without deviation, these types of honors are given to weighty emotional dramas, but this year, ‘Mad Max’ is swooping in like a gang of mutant marauders!

Going into these races, a lot of folks had their money on ‘Spotlight’ directed by Tom McCarthy, the true story of the Boston Globe’s investigation into child molestation cover ups by the Catholic Church.  But shockingly, the film couldn’t even take the top prize in its own home city!

The Boston Online Film Critics Association selected ‘Fury Road’ as the best movie of the year, ahead of more standard award fare like ‘Creed’, ‘Brooklyn’, and yes, ‘Spotlight’.  This wasn’t the only financially successful, sci fi movie on the list either.  Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ also landed in the Top Ten at #8. In addition to Best Picture, ‘Mad Max’ also won for Best Director for Miller, Best Cinematography for John Seale, Best Editing for Margaret Sixel and Best Original Score for Junkie XL.

Interestingly, another Boston-based organization, The Boston Society of Film Critics gave top honors to ‘Spotlight’ but ‘Mad Max’ was the runner up.  The film also won the Best Editing accolade for Sixel.

In other sci fi news, Alicia Vikander was named the runner up for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Ex Machina’ with the BSFC, coming in second to Kristen Stewart for ‘The Clouds of Sils Maria.’  ‘Ex Machina’ director Alex Garland was named the runner up for Best New Filmmaker, second to Marielle Heller for ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’.

And on the other side of the country, the LA Film Critics Association granted the Best Picture award to ‘Spotlight’, but ‘Mad Max’ was the first runner up.  Miller didn’t walk away empty handed though, landing the Best Director award.  Once again, John Seale won for Best Cinematography.  Sixel was the runner up for Best Editing, coming in second to Hank Corwin for ‘The Big Short’.  Colin Gibson won for Best Production Design.

Also, Vikander won Best Supporting Actress for ‘Ex Machina’.

The LA Critics also annually offer an award called New Generation for an up and coming director.  This year, this prize was bestowed upon ‘Creed”s Ryan Coogler.  This is noteworthy because there are rumblings that Coogler is in talks to direct Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’. Last year’s recipient was Ava DuVernay for ‘Selma’ a director that was attached to ‘Black Panther’ but couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Disney over the film’s direction.

As more and more critical organizations heap this type of praise upon ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, the more likely it becomes that the action thriller will actually find itself being honored by the Academy Awards, the highest honor when it comes to filmmaking.  Commercial success means nothing to this august organization, which is why so often the films nominated are ones that very few people have ever seen beforehand.  It’s very unusual for a popcorn action flick to find itself in the running for such a weighty honor.

Could it happen?  Things are looking better and better with each award!

Do you think ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ was the best movie of the year?  If now, what was?

Sources: Deadline, The Hollywood Reporter