Mel Gibson Oscar buzz? Get right outta town!

Posted by · 10:05 am · September 22nd, 2010

Someone stop me if I’m out to lunch here, but is it not absolutely ludicrous to think that Mel Gibson would have a shot at a Best Actor nomination in this or any other universe in a year where the star is as plagued with controversy as he is in 2010?

Look, I’m all for forgiveness and “kumbaya.”  And I really couldn’t care less about Gibson’s domestic issues.  So this isn’t a personal perspective or anything, but you’re talking about a guy thought to be anti-Semitic in a community with, well, its fair share of Jews, who happened to rock out the biggest public embarrassment any star has seen since, I don’t know, the LAST time Gibson went on ranting and raving?  I love that Jodie Foster is sticking by her friend (noted in today’s round-up), as she should, but seriously, does anyone legitimately think Hollywood wants this kind of situation representing the community in the form of a BEST ACTOR NOMINATION?

Well, that’s not stopping the gears from turning.  Pete Hammond, God love him, is looking for the silver lining like he’s looking for a positive word to say about the latest “Resident Evil” film over at Deadline.

To wit:

…the even bigger question is whether, after all his public travails, Mel Gibson could suddenly become a serious contender for a Best Actor Oscar nomination via a late-breaking qualifying run before the end of the year?

Three different sources who have seen the film and have a connection to it (none in a production capacity) all told me virtually the same thing: Gibson is “extraordinary”. One person said, “he gives an incredible performance. If you can forget what happened, and I didn’t have tabloid images racing through my mind watching him, it’s really something. I still don’t want to be his friend but he’s great in this.” Another told me today, “I don’t bullshit about these things. He’s amazing.”

I don’t doubt it.  He’s always been a fantastic actor and it makes sense that he’d deliver an awards-worthy performance.  But, but…I can’t be alone here.

Nikki Finke, meanwhile, writes up a piece today noting that Summit’s reluctance to release the film is puzzling.  Granted, I’m with her.  The film could open and make money, perhaps even more with the rubbernecking set filing in.  But thinking the film can make money and thinking Gibson can nail down an Oscar nomination are two entirely different things.  And carting out Roman Polanski, Woody Allen and Elia Kazan as examples of Hollywood forgiveness just doesn’t cut it.  They’re not on record as saying “the Jews are responsible for all the wars of the world” or, if his clearly opportunistic wife is to be trusted, “I want Jew blood on my hands.”  I’m just saying it’s a tough sell, to put it mildly.

And sure, there are those who have said some things about the Jewish community that certainly hit a tender spot — Oliver Stone, Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave.  But I think it’s stretching to call it the same territory.

Bottom line, I can’t wait to see “The Beaver” and Gibson’s clearly exceptional performance.  And while I might think it’s insane to throw around Oscar buzz here (I’d be happy to eat crow in a few months’ time), I don’t want to get in the way of any campaigns or shoot anything down before it’s had a chance to take flight.  But my job is to suss out this kind of stuff and see what smells right.  And’s just…crazy, right?


[Photo: Summit Entertainment]

→ 32 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

32 responses so far

  • 1 9-22-2010 at 10:17 am

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Bartleby, in a singularly mild, firm voice, replied, “I would prefer not to.”

  • 2 9-22-2010 at 10:22 am

    Will said...

    Hahahaha. A+ first comment.

  • 3 9-22-2010 at 10:25 am

    Zack said...

    I think if all the top contenders turn out to be cannibals, Gibson has a shot.
    Although I think Firth, at least, would probably still get nominated.

  • 4 9-22-2010 at 10:25 am

    Derek 8-Track said...

    if they gave him a nomination/win, I feel like it would be a giant way for the academy to show they choose based on craft and not politics. ballzy!

  • 5 9-22-2010 at 10:33 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Gibson’s antics have at least helped the film in one respect — they’ve distracted the conversation from its unavoidably snickersome title.

  • 6 9-22-2010 at 10:41 am

    Zack said...

    I also heard a suggestion that, now that the Joaquin Phoenix cat has been let out of the bag, Gibson should do something similar by claiming he was researching his character and the beaver made all those phone calls.

  • 7 9-22-2010 at 10:41 am

    Josh said...

    Yeah, I’m with you. I think there are enough people who aren’t even going to want to see it–being honest, if the movie’s premise wasn’t so strange, I don’t think I’d want to give the movie the time of day.

    Anyway, this isn’t really a story, is it? Pete Hammond may be respected in the community for his awards knowledge, but as mentioned yesterday, he touted This Is It as an Oscar contender.

    Not going to happen.

  • 8 9-22-2010 at 10:54 am

    Dan Seeger said...

    There’s no way. Gibson, let’s not forget, has never received an Academy Award for acting, even in the year of “Braveheart.” That’s not going to change in the year he’s officially crossed over into Lohan territory in terms of tabloid attention. And for a dark comedy in which he’s running around with a beaver puppet on his hand? That would be a tough sell with the Academy under the best of circumstances.

  • 9 9-22-2010 at 10:55 am

    Dan Seeger said...

    A Golden Globe nomination, on the other hand…

  • 10 9-22-2010 at 10:56 am

    al b. said...

    I really hope Mel gets a nomination, or at least an honorary award, he’s an incredible actor with countless amazing performances and no controversy or personal issues will ever get in the way of that.

    What I love more than anything is seeing a tragic figure (which, let’s face, Mel is) and seeing them rise up and gain more respect. Yes, his comments were stupid and he needs to lay off the alcohol, but I really hope he bounces back and returns to his former glory! It would be good for him and Hollywood.

  • 11 9-22-2010 at 11:15 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    A nomination is inconceivable enough. Why on earth would the Academy give him an honorary award?

  • 12 9-22-2010 at 11:50 am

    Chad Hartigan said...

    I want to see this!

  • 13 9-22-2010 at 11:57 am

    Pete said...

    I don’t get this. The Breitbart sites like Big Hollywood, Drudge, etc. are ALWAYS railing on Hollywood as being beneath contempt because actors are racist, misogynist, anti-semitic creeps. Yet, Mel does ALL those things in large quantities, and the same right wing Breitbart types make excuses for him. I guess all Sean Penn has to do is make a Jesus film and all will be excused???

  • 14 9-22-2010 at 12:10 pm

    Julian Stark said...

    Even if he’s phenomenal in the film, I just don’t see this happening. I’m curious to see how this is campaigned, though, given that it gets picked up and distributed before year’s end

  • 15 9-22-2010 at 12:32 pm

    GRMA said...

    That was my immediate reaction when I read the Deadline article, Kristopher. Couldn’t agree more!

  • 16 9-22-2010 at 1:14 pm

    Pete said...

    How, exactly, is Woody Allen, an example of Hollywood forgiveness? For mutually falling in love and marrying someone he’s not biologically related to and staying in that marriage?

    Is that all you have on the guy? Pathetic.

    And by the way, I do get that you are not necessarilly speaking from own perspective but perspective of “Hollywood”. I get that. But, still, your comment only reinforces that Allen somehow had something to be forgiven for. He hasn’t. He hasn’t braken any laws and certainly doesn’t have to answer to anyone.

    People have divorced or married for far worse reasons.

    And as for Mel, it’s all a huge oversimplification. Even Jewish people would vote for him if he trully was exceptional (similar things have happened before in Academy history). And that’s the real truth. Read: not everyone is as constantly on the offensive as Mel is. People would vote if the performance was there.

    And I don’t think the peformance was there (and I read early reviews that of the film that were uniformly quite poor overall) Think about this:

    The guy has far, far greater detements to his chances than that. This year’s scandals related to his wife, while unrelated, clearly show that his personal life and personality are messed up all over. I just don’t see how playing a role that calls for him to be, essentially, an angry person is going to be all that IMPRESSIVE or be seen as that much of a stretch. It just won’t be, period.

    And to be honest, judging strictly from what I’ve seen from him in the last few years, I just don’t think he has it in him to give that caliber performance in the first place.

  • 17 9-22-2010 at 1:25 pm

    Pete said...

    There’s actually a better reason why I called the entire article “an oversimplification”. The thing is, the real causes of the Gibson’s chances of not being nomianted are misplaced.

    If we are to follow the whole public image/offensive angle as the deterrent to nominations and allow it to play a big role, after this year, you don’t really have to be Jewish to be put off by the guy. It’s just that simple. In most societies, I think, people would be turned off.

    And, again, after this past couple of years, even those who were with Mel for their own religious believes might be equally turned off by how he handled his marriage situation. One would think they’d find little to approve there.

    And as for the whole forgiveness angle, shouldn’t it come after the person, well, for the lack of a better word, got better, even a little? Hardly seems to be the trajectory at play here.

    I for one, would be quite releived if he actually did get better. Or wanted to. You know, examined himself a little for a change.

  • 18 9-22-2010 at 2:11 pm

    Gustavo said...

    Is that Pete commenter above the Hammond one?

  • 19 9-22-2010 at 3:02 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Well there’s gotta be something to this to get Jodie Foster to direct it, and get Mel Gibson to star in it while wearing a beaver hand puppet.

  • 20 9-22-2010 at 3:03 pm

    Aaron said...

    Pete, while I am a huge Woody Allen fan, I am not oblivious to the fact that people had a normal reaction to be a little grossed out when he started a relationship with his then-partner’s adopted daughter…not to mention the fact that Mia Farrow discovered the affair when she uncovered nude photographs taken by Allen of her daughter…

    …maybe they do things differently where you are, but I have to agree the whole thing was a bit fucked up!

  • 21 9-22-2010 at 3:16 pm

    Mike said...

    Russell Crowe couldn’t get nommed for Cinderella Man after the whole phone throwing thing, even though he was nommed by th HFPA and SAG. It is difficult for me to see this happening, but I would love it if it did.

  • 22 9-22-2010 at 3:38 pm

    James D. said...

    I wasn’t aware Woody Allen had anything to apologize for, frankly. Well, except for Anything Else.

  • 23 9-22-2010 at 3:41 pm

    yuhheu said...

    isn’t North America the land where you can begin from zero, starting a new life, and be forgiven and excused by anyone?

    well, use that, North America.

  • 24 9-22-2010 at 3:44 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Pete: Settle down. I’m quoting Nikki there. I don’t disagree with you regarding Allen. And I state right here in the copy that carting him (and others) out as examples is thin.

  • 25 9-22-2010 at 4:11 pm

    Jake G. said...

    Woohooo TEAM MEl Gibsonn! He will get nominated for this!!! Hopefully :)

  • 26 9-22-2010 at 4:12 pm

    yuhheu said...

    if USA people have forgiven George Bush for the things he did to that country, then Mel Gibson should be a saint.

  • 27 9-22-2010 at 6:28 pm

    Johnny Doubles said...

    “THOUGHT TO BE” anti-semitic?!?!

    What more proof does one need? Does the man have to grow a Hitler-stache and carve a swastika into his chest? Next thing you know people will say he isn’t mysoginist… or batshit crazy…

    If the performance is strong enough, who knows…

    But I REALLY can’t think of anybody more unpopular in this town right now…

  • 28 9-22-2010 at 8:25 pm

    JR said...

    What worries me more about a theoretical Gibson nomination? That it will only feed his toxic narcissism… The man needs clinical, not just clerical, help. He clearly learned nothing from his run-in with the Malibu police. What Polanski did was criminal but also decades ago. Only recently, Gibson was threatening the life of his child’s mother. Maybe it wasn’t right that those tapes were released, but the anger in his voice only made me think: Nicole and OJ.

  • 29 9-22-2010 at 9:26 pm

    Dave said...

    Gibson talked…Polanski raped…enough said.

  • 30 9-23-2010 at 6:57 am

    Kane said...

    @Dave, As much as I love Polanski’s work…true story.

    Tabloids aside there were plenty of people who thought the premise for Lars and the Real Girl was ludicrous and then Ryan Gosling came inches close to an Oscar nod for that film. Oscar nod aside as well, something tells me Gibson will pull this off beautifully.

  • 31 3-10-2011 at 4:39 pm

    Elias Vanderhoot said...

    Charlie Sheen’s acts help Mel Gibson seem to be the perfect angel.