‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Earns Mel Gibson First Oscar Nod In 21 Years – Still Too Soon?

After having been exiled from the spotlight for over two decades, it seems Mel Gibson is back in Hollywood’s good graces with an Oscar nomination for his work on Hacksaw Ridge as proof. While that would indicate all has been forgiven, the media response to Gibson’s nomination also suggests that all has not been forgotten. Gibson was at the top of his game, when a series of outbursts, both verbal and physical, dominated the headlines and threatened to wash Mel up once and for all, but the actor persevered and he now shares how hard work and dedication helped him get back what he had lost. Yet, some say it’s still too soon and Mr. Gibson should still be paying for his past acts, instead of being honored at the Academy Awards with an Oscar nomination for Hacksaw Ridge.

Hacksaw Ridge Earns Mel Gibson A New Oscar Nomination In Spite Of His Past

Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Mel Gibson receives a Best Director nod for 'Hacksaw Ridge.' [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]

Mel Gibson directed the critically acclaimed story about the first American soldier to ever receive the Medal of Honor without having fired a single shot in battle, earning a total of six Academy Award nominations, including Best Director, reports Haaretz. This is hardly a surprise. Through decades in Hollywood, Mel Gibson has proven himself a rare talent in all aspects of filmmaking, delivering emotional performances as an actor and telling compelling stories as a director.

So, what’s the problem?

It’s Gibson’s past, a past that seems he’s doomed to keep chained about his waist like Jacob Marley’s own sins in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Mel went through some troubled times in the past, culminating with a series of incidents which suggested him to be an ugly drunk. On one occasion, the Hacksaw Ridge director was pulled over and received a DUI citation. When officers attempted to take Gibson into custody, he shouted sexist and anti-Semitic slurs at the officers, as he attempted to resist the arrest.

A few years later, Mel again gained unwanted media attention when it was revealed that he had verbally and physically assaulted his then-girlfriend, Russian pianist Oksana Grigorieva. Making matters worse, audio recordings of an altercation between Mel and Oksana were released, obliterating any possibility that the incident had been erroneously reported.

Those incidents served as a wake-up call for Mr. Gibson, compelling him to give up the booze and concentrate on honing his profession. He yearned to make headlines for his accomplishments and not for his drunken antics. It worked. A decade later, Mel was sober and beginning to ease himself back into Hollywood’s good graces, but the public has a good memory and a less forgiving heart.

Some still stand to object to any Oscar nomination that bears the name Mel Gibson, but after 21 years, hasn’t Gibson paid his dues? Perhaps Hacksaw Ridge should be judged on its own merits and not on the long dead past of its director.

Mel Gibson Says Hard Work Has Its Rewards

Mel Gibson, Sylvester Stallone
Mel Gibson says it's important to him to earn the respect of peers like Sylvester Stallone anew. [Image by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images]

Mel Gibson isn’t blind to his past or the effect that his personal actions have had on his career, but as he tells ABC News, the Hacksaw Ridge director is rueful of his past and, at times, finds it difficult to believe he really made such ugly remarks. Soon after Mel made headlines for the verbal and physical abuses he committed, it was said that the actor turned director would never be forgiven for his transgressions, but an Oscar nomination a decade later proves Hollywood has a softer heart than it once did.

Gibson says he’s grateful for the second chance. He also says he’s not overly concerned with whether or not Hacksaw Ridge wins any of its six Oscar nominations because just being mentioned is reward enough. Mel says he feels tremendous gratification at simply being recognized by his peers.

Many of the crew who worked on Hacksaw Ridge have commented that Mel is a new man, as unlike his past self as if he were literally a different person. Kevin O’Connell, who served as the Hacksaw Ridge sound mixer, says Gibson was “calm, cool, collected,” and adds that the director has really turned his life around.

While many in Hollywood have vowed to never work with Mel Gibson again, the Hacksaw Ridge director looks forward to swaying their opinions of him through hard work and continued good will.

[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]