George Miller to head Cannes Festival jury

Baku, February 3, AZERTAC

Director George Miller, whose most recent Mad Max film has been nominated for 10 Oscars, will head up the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival, according to Sky news.

The 70-year-old is the first Australian to chair the event and said it was "an unmitigated delight" and that he will be there with "bells on".

Miller launched the career of Mel Gibson and started a whole genre of "outback gothic" after the first Mad Max film in 1979.

But choosing the unapologetically populist filmmaker, who also wrote and directed Babe, the world's first blockbuster about a talking pig, may ruffle the sensibilities of Cannes' arthouse diehards.

He returned to the animal kingdom with the animated 2006 hit about tap dancing penguins, Happy Feet, which won the director a best animated feature Oscar.

The organisers were at pains to point to his credentials as a cinematic pioneer.

"Throughout his career, George Miller has constantly experimented with a variety of genres, brilliantly reconciling mass audience expectations and the highest artistic standards," they said in a statement.

Mad Max broke the mould, they argued, "an ultra-violent futuristic film that brought the action film genre a touch of class with its masterly combination of road movie, Western and science fiction elements".

The fourth in the series, Mad Max: Fury Road, opened last year's Cannes festival and scooped nine prizes at last week's Critics' Choice Awards in Los Angeles, including best director.

Miller's drama Lorenzo's Oil, starring Susan Sarandon and Nick Nolte, was nominated for two Oscars in 1992.

The 69th Cannes festival will run from 11-22 May.

Miller's jury, who will decide who gets its top prize, the Palme d'Or, will be announced later.

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