Filmmaker George Miller, currently Oscar-nominated for directing Mad Max: Fury Road, has been named jury president of the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the 69th anniversary of the veritable cinematic institution. The 70-year-old director, famous for the Mad Max franchise as well as The Witches of Eastwick, Babe: Pig in the City and the Happy Feet films, has previously served on the Cannes juries in both 1988 and 1999.
This marks the fourth year in a row that Cannes organizers have opted for an auteur to preside over the competition jury. Last year, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen served as co-presidents (Jacques Audiard’s Dheepan won the top prize), Jane Campion headed it in 2014 (which saw Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep win out) and Steven Spielberg held the honor in 2013 (where Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue in the Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d’Or). Miller premiered his critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic fever dream Fury Road out of competition at this past years’ Cannes.
“What an unmitigated delight!” Miller said, “Such an honour. I’ll be there with bells on!” It remains to be seen what films will be playing at Cannes this year or what mix of talent will join the Australian filmmaker on the competition jury.
Currently, Miller picked up a Critics’ Choice Award for directing Mad Max: Fury Road and is also up for a Directors Guild of America prize as well as the Academy Award. The surprise awards momentum for the Tom Hardy-headlined action spectacle has kept Miller certainly busy in recent months, as may likely the rumored hopes of fifth-entry to the franchise he created. We will stayed tuned to future developments on both ends as well as deeper Cannes coverage as it comes. The festival will from May 11th-22nd.