Mel Gibson, once the most hated man in Hollywood, has been redeemed, according to the Los Angeles Times. Or at least that’s one explanation to why the Academy would nominate the 61-year-old actor-turned-director for Best Director at the Oscars 2017.
— Variance TV (@VarianceTV) January 25, 2017
When the Oscars 2017 nominations were announced on Tuesday, there were lots of snubs and surprises. One of the most prominent surprises was the fact that the disgraced Mel Gibson, who has the reputation of an abusive racist and has been accused of domestic violence, received a directorial nod for his latest film Hacksaw Ridge.
That wouldn’t be big news if Mel Gibson’s Oscars 2017 Best Direction nomination didn’t stand in the way of Hollywood directing giants, Clint Eastwood (Sully) and Martin Scorsese (Silence), being nominated in the same category.
More shockingly, at the recent Academy premiere of Hacksaw Ridge, there was a 10-minute standing ovation for Mel Gibson and his new film. Ten years ago, every newspaper painted the Braveheart director as the most hated man in Hollywood.
Mel Gibson’s shattered reputation stems from 10 years ago, when he verbally assaulted police officers using an anti-Semitic and sexist slur. That same year, an audiotape in which Gibson threatened his then-girlfriend with rape and other physical abuse leaked on the Internet.
— Desmond Doss (@DesmondDoss) January 26, 2017
While standing ovations for a director with the reputation of Mel Gibson sounds bizarre already, many believed the Braveheart actor would never work in Hollywood ever again. But he was allowed to continue working freely, and now he’s even nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars 2017.
While Mel Gibson’s nomination could indicate that the director has been redeemed by Hollywood, the Academy’s nominations are not exactly the most reliable indicator. For two years in a row, the Academy didn’t nominate a single actor of color at Oscars 2015 and Oscars 2016, prompting a furious backlash from the media and the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.
This year, however, the Academy has made amends and nominated at least one actor and actress of color in each of the four acting nominations. But along with all these nominations came that much-talked about Mel Gibson nomination.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 25, 2017
Could it be that members of the Academy were sitting in a room deciding who to nominate not to hurt anyone’s feelings and save themselves from controversies, and then someone said, “Just throw Mel Gibson in there! He’ll be in good company”?
In addition to Mel Gibson’s nod in the Best Director category, his film Hacksaw Ridge also received five other nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor, according to Vulture. In fact, this is Gibson’s second nomination for Best Director.
The last time Mel Gibson was nominated for Best Director was for his critically lauded Braveheart in 1996, in which he also starred in. The hit 1996 film took home top honors of the 68th Academy Awards Ceremony, winning both Best Picture and Best Director.
Many social media commenters reacted to the Oscars 2017 nominations by wondering if Mel Gibson would also get a nod for Best Actor if he starred in Hacksaw Ridge. But that’s probably enough controversy for one person.
— Matt Dickerson (@MattDickerson) January 25, 2017
La La Land, which leads the nominations with 14 nods at the Oscars 2017, will most likely prevent Mel Gibson from winning the so-desired Best Picture award for his film Hacksaw Ridge, which was released last November and scored 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes‘ Tomatometer.
While Hollywood forgiving Mel Gibson might sound bizarre, it’s not the first time the Academy has made such a controversial move. In 2003, Roman Polanski took home the Best Director award despite spending decades in exile to escape a rape conviction. That’s just how the Academy works: it’s unpredictable.
[Featured Image by Todd Williamson/Getty Images]