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Cannes 2016: 'Mad Max' director George Miller named jury president

Cannes 2016: 'Mad Max' director George Miller named jury president
Australian director George Miller during a news conference for "Mad Max : Fury Road" during the 68th Cannes Film Festival in Cannes. Hewill head the jury at this year's Cannes Film Festival. (Anne-Christine Poujoulat / AFP/Getty Images)

George Miller is having a pretty good 2016.

Just a few weeks after scoring an Oscar directing nomination for his "Mad Max: Fury Road," the Australian filmmaker was named president of this year's Cannes Film Festival jury.

"The 70-year-old Miller has won international acclaim for ... spectacular and jubilant creations, as well as for his eclecticism, inventiveness and sheer audacity," the festival said in a statement. "His nomination marks a no-holds-barred celebration of genre cinema. But above all, the 2016 Festival de Cannes is all set to welcome a big-hearted film lover and a great human being."

Miller's most recent movie premiered out of competition in Cannes last year, a debut that sent it on its way to nearly $400 million in global box office and, eventually, its somewhat unexpected awards run. The filmmaker was also named best director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn., and his movie was nominated for best picture at the Oscars.

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Miller is the first Australian to chair the jury, which is in charge of giving out the Palme d'Or, among other prizes. The selection of a genre-leaning filmmaker will set off speculation about the kind of movies that could win this year. The Coen brothers headed the jury last year, when the Palme went to Jacques Audiard's "Dheepan."

Eight of the past 10 juries were headed by filmmakers from English-speakng countries. Jane Campion of nearby New Zealand chaired the jury in 2014.

"To be there in the middle of this storied festival at the unveiling of cinematic treasures from all over the planet," Miller said in the Cannes statement. "To spend time in passionate discourse with fellow members of the jury. Such an honor. I'll be there with bells on!"

The Cannes Film Festival kicks off May 11 in the Riviera town.

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