From ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’ to ‘Happy Feet,’ LAFCA winner George Miller traces the path to ‘Fury Road’

It's been a long weekend, but a largely good one. That's despite being floored up with a fever and a nasty head and chest thing. On Friday night, I went to see both the East and West coast broadcasts of “Undateable Live” on NBC, and then I mainlined screeners for consideration for the year-end awards that I vote on as a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Sunday morning, I had to send my vote with a proxy because I was still ill, and I noted in the comments I sent over that there was one award I felt very strongly about. I wrote, “The only award I feel urgently about is Best Director. It's George Miler this year. No one else alive would have or could have made THAT version of that movie. He's the man, and we should reward that.”

It's safe to say that I am positively goddamn delighted with the result of the voting, because we gave George Miller Best Director. That makes me happy on a nearly molecular level. One of the things I try to pay attention to is when a movie makes other directors react strongly, and every single filmmaker I know flipped for “Mad Max: Fury Road” completely. This goes beyond a question of “liked” or “disliked.” When filmmakers look at “Mad Max: Fury Road,” what they see is a remarkable combination of old-fashioned practical stuntwork and absolute state-of-the-art digital work. There's no more aggressive advertisement for just how far digital cinematography can be pushed at the moment than this film, and the idea that it's a guy in his 70s offering up this master class is just astonishing.

Today, I've got the full one-hour interview for you. You can see the first half at the top of the story, and the second half at the bottom. We cover so much ground in this one that it felt satisfying in a way few interviews ever do. We talked about shooting the first “Mad Max,” we talked about his close creative partnership with Byron Kennedy, we talked about Stanley Kubrick, we talked about his transition into animated films, and, yes, we talked about “Mad Max: Fury Road.” And through the entire thing, I'm grinning like a lunatic because it's such a pleasure to meet one of your creative heroes and have them more than live up to expectations.

You can find a full list of this year's LAFCA awards at our official website, including the Best Picture award for “Spotlight.” I've got a bunch of reviews this week to try and catch up with everything I've watched, starting with a couple of movies about man's uneasy relationship with nature, and Film Nerd 2.0 returns with two very different recent screenings for the boys.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is available now for digital download and on DVD and Blu-ray.