Opinion Brief

Could Mel Gibson win an Oscar?

Hollywood buzz says the tirade-prone star gives an award-worthy performance in 'The Beaver.' But has he disqualified himself with his bad behavior?

When recordings of Mel Gibson's alarming phone conversations with his ex-girlfriend and baby mama Oksana Grigorieva went public this summer, it seemed that Hollywood would excommunicate the apparently unstable actor (already notorious for his drunken anti-Semetic rants in 2006) for good. But now there's talk of an Oscar nod for his starring role in The Beaver, and the upcoming film's director, Jodie Foster, has voiced her support: "Mel is an undeniably gifted actor and director...a true and loyal friend. I hope I can help him get through this dark moment." Still, an Academy Award?

Gibson reportedly gives an Oscar-caliber performance: At Deadline, Pete Hammond quotes multiple anonymous sources close to the film who say Gibson is absolutely "extraordinary" in the role of a father who talks to a beaver hand-puppet. And Summit Entertainment, the studio behind The Beaver, was "a savvy campaigner last year" with The Hurt Locker, which won Best Picture in a shocking upset over Avatar. Maybe this year, Gibson will be their surprise winner.
"Could Mel Gibson become a late player in this year's best actor Oscar race?"

Hollywood has a great capacity to forgive troubled talent: "Hollywood forgives the man and doesn't forget the moviemaker at Oscar time," says Nikki Finke in another Deadline piece. "Witness the recent embracement of Roman Polanski [who pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor], Woody Allen [who slept with his stepdaughter], Elia Kazan [who named names before the House Committee on Un-American Activities]." Sure, "the Hollywood concensus now is that Mel's a louse. But isn't showbiz filled with louses who are also great moviemakers?"
"Can Oscar voters forgive & not forget Mel?"

This is total hype, most likely manufactured by Summit's marketing department: Remember, "it took Hollywood nearly 50 years to forgive Elia Kazan," says Patrick Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times. Mel doesn't have a shot at a statuette, and the movie itself doesn't even have a release date. The supposed "Oscar buzz" around his performance is likely the creation of the film's PR team. "People have already made up their minds about Gibson and even a good acting performance—if that's actually what he's done in The Beaver—isn't going to wipe away all the bad vibes."
"Is it really Oscar time for Mel Gibson? Or just Oscar hype?"

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