Could Mel Gibson Become A Late Player In This Year's Best Actor Oscar Race?

Can Oscar Voters Forgive & Not Forget Mel?

Jodie Foster directed and co-stars with Mel Gibson in The Beaver and just made her first statement about him and her film since his rants against his ex-girlfriend became a matter of public record. Calling Gibson “a true and loyal friend’ in a “dark moment”, she told More magazine, “Of course, Mel is an undeniably gifted actor, and The Beaver is one of his most powerful and moving performances.” The big question now is when Summit Entertainment plans to release her film, which still remains officially undated, and if the studio will try to make an awards play. And 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? As for Jodie, I’m told she just wants to do what’s best for the picture, which was a real labor of love for the two-time Oscar-winning actress/director. She simply doesn’t want it to be “swept under the rug”.

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.”

Although Gibson has 2 Oscars at home for directing and producing 1995’s Braveheart, he has never been nominated for his acting. In the film, Gibson plays a father who walks around talking to a beaver hand puppet. It’s way out there but it apparently works, according to those who’ve seen it.

Among the movie’s insiders, there seem to be two distinct schools of thought about The Beaver’s release and, understandably, some nervousness. One side says go for it and get it out this year and into contention. The other side worries that there may be other shoes to drop in the Gibson domestic situation and the movie could get caught in the middle after Summit commited to a multimillion marketing campaign and possible Oscar run.

One strategist leaning towards the option of going out this year cites last month’s CBS News/Vanity Fair poll that found 76% of respondents saying Gibson’s personal troubles would have no effect on whether they would see one of his movies. Of course that poll didn’t specifically ask about The Beaver. Nor did it specifically survey Academy members. Whether Mel’s rants completely turned off Oscar voters no matter how brilliant he may be in the picture is something that will only be answered when Summit makes the call and lets this cat out of the bag.

The young company proved itself to be a savvy campaigner last year with its smart run all the way to a Best Picture sweep for The Hurt Locker. This year, its awards contenders include the critically acclaimed The Ghost Writer (released February 19th and wide March 19th), directed by another showbiz figure who’s no stranger to controversy, Roman Polanski. As well as the hot button Valerie Plame political drama starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, Fair Game (opening November 5th), which was well-received in Cannes competition last May. Speculating on what might happen to The Beaver, one source said, “Summit likes to surprise people, so we’ll see”.

  1. I don’t like Mel Gibson. But let’s take a look at the big picture. R Kelly is still putting out albums. Roman Polanski movies have been released over the years. Michael Vick is playing for the Eagles. And Phil Spector music still floods the oldies stations. Regardless of how much we don’t like Mel Gibson, can we please keep things in a rational perspective, people?

    1. dude, I appreciate that you still think Gibson should make movies, but you really need to wake up and realize what is going on. The 4 people you include in your post absolutely make my point for me. 2 of them are black and 2 of them are jewish. Yes Polanski and Spector are jewish! Don’t you see? If you are jewish— you get a pass. And by the way, I like blacks, hispanics, asians, etc etc, but jews use them as a shield to defeat white europeans. jews couldn’t give a damn about minorities, but they realize how powerful a weapon they are on their path to control everything, hence the pass that black and minority celebrities often get.

      And look, I’m not saying go out and join your local neo-nazi organization, but I am saying educate yourself on the destructive jewish influence—join some responsible cause that tries to undermine jewish bigotry. Jews make up 30-35 percent of ivy league schools and they are only 2 percent of the population of the usa. 60 percent of jews make over 100,000 bucks a year, while only 14% of white europeans do and only about 4% of blacks do. If you go to the executives of any media conglomerate—-just look at the names, or for that matter look at the correspondents for cnn or fox news—a majority of jews.

      Just look into—-that’s all I’m saying

    2. I’d like to know what JF was thinking when she cast Gibson. That has to rank as the casting mistake of the decade if this movie really is as good as people say it is.

      The rest of hollywood was too busy to star in a Jodie Foster movie?

      You’d have to be an idiot to try to work with this guy after all the stupidity he’s gotten himself into.

      From 10000 feet up, he’s an angry drunk racist woman abuser. That’s exactly who you need involved in your hollywood movie. (sarcasm off)

      Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of movies I loved his acting in, he’s just extremely risky. I’m not a hollywood insider and I know that.

  2. What Roman Polanski did was A MILLION TIMES WORSE than anything Mel Gibson did, and everybody hated Polanski. People think Mel may have some anger issues, but they don’t hate him. This is totally an inside-Hollywood thing re: Gibson. The only person who cares is Ari Emmanuel. Fact.

    It would be SO HYPOCRITICAL for Summit not to release this.

    1. ANYONE who says crap like “I hope you get raped by a pack of wild n*ggers” doesn’t get a penny from me! And Jodie Foster has done herself no favors pleading Gibson’s case. Defend the movie, or even Gibson’s acting, but not the klansman himself. That’s inexcusable.

      I wonder, what if say Laurence Fishburne had REPEATEDLY threatened and beaten his wife and gone on racially-laden tirades. Would we see all this “Nobody cares but Jews and overly-sensitive black people,” chatter? Of course not.
      Hell, there’s people on this board who still routinely bitch and moan about Chris Rock and he’s the most UN-racist person in Hollywood!

      Smells like….hypocrisy to me.

      1. Guess what JaySmack, don’t go to the movie. Your holier-than-thou indignation is duly noted. I’m sure we’ll miss you, but probably not much.

        But here’s the thing. Because you’re offended and don’t want to see the movie, doesn’t mean that the rest of us shouldn’t be allowed to.

        Thanks for playing.

        1. I agree with JaySmack.

          There’s nothing “holier-than-thou” in saying you don’t want to give your money to Mel Gibson. The guy is a racist, homophobic, anti-semitic wife beater. Other than that, he’s totally cool.

        2. Guess what Release Bus.

          You see whatever movie you want to see.

          Hey. Its a free country.

          And if its with a vile, ignorant bigot, you go ahead and enjoy it.

          Who cries, right?

          Hey release bus. Youre an asshole

          1. Guess what ateve.
            If everyone stop going to movies made by vile, ignorant bigots. No one would go to movies at all.

      2. @JaySmack just to clarify he said “if you get raped by a pack of n****s, it will be your fault”

        not exactly hope

        but you what do I know…

  3. Nope. Nope. Nope. No way in hell is Gibson getting an Oscar nom. Incredible performance or not. Doesn’t matter. The scandal is too recent for voters to just forget. At best it’ll probably have a small release maybe in 2011 and go straight to dvd or video on demand.

    1. So Alboone… Does one receive an Oscar consideration as a result of one’s character and behavior apart from the work or does one receive a nomination for the work. If the former were the criteria then many an individual in this industry would never have been nominees nor recipients in the history of the Academy.

  4. I read “Late Player” in the headline and thought Gibson was up for a posthumous Oscar, me having missed something there.

    Talented Actor or not (NOT! in my book), could someone find out what constitutes “a … moment” in Jodie Foster’s timescale? Gibson has an awful lot of these ‘moments’ so when you string them together I would have thought ‘period’ or ‘phase’ or ‘he’s always like this’ more appropriate.

    And when does being a brilliant artist, as anyone is free to think of the man, finally stop cancelling out what is outrageous and unacceptable behaviour? (Yeah, I know, when the box office drops off!). I mean, Hitler could give a fine speech and paint a bit too, but look what he got up to. See what I mean?

    Okay, Academy Members, here’s what you do: give Gibson his Oscar but let him get totally wasted in the hospitality room and then switch off the beeper for his acceptance speech. Ooh! Ooh! Also have Jodie Foster on stage with him when he’s handed that very heavy, phallic-shaped statuette. I want to see another of his ‘moments’ *gets the beers and popcorn ready*.

    1. And now we’re comparing Mel Gibson to Hitler? Really, Hitler, the monster behind millions of murders? Mel’s a better actor than I realized.

    2. This is an awesome rant, ripsnorter! I had to give you props there.
      But that aside, I like Mel, and I do think we all go so bad moments/phases, what have you. No one is perfect. Release the movie and let the audience – and the Oscar voters – decide.

      1. Thanks, GoldenApple. Of course I’m not comparing Mel with Hitler, just using hyperbole as to ponder where the artistic ability ceases to cancel out inexcusable behaviour. Polanski would have been a better case in point. It seems getting a child drunk and drugged before anally raping her is fine as long as one’s day job is directing!

  5. Can we forget bad behavior or political affiliation and enjoy a performance? I have seen some rightish sites that have lavished praise on Ben Afflecks The Town and George Clooneys performance in The American. Oscar voters have not been put off from defending and nominating other actors or directors who have engaged in violent or criminal behavior in the past – if they dont go for Gibson (who always has been a solid and compelling actor) it wont be because of his rants and we all know it.

    1. You’re equating Ben Affleck and George Clooney’s political views to Mel Gibson’s behavior? You ma’am, are ridiculous.

    2. Please provide details of Affleck’s and Clooney’s violent or criminal behavior in the past, or why did you single them out for your post?

  6. Mel Gibson is a wonderful director. Hollywood loves dramatic comebacks. Does anybody remember R Downey Jr a few years ago?…Not the only one, Ingrid Bergman and many others went through scandals, but were forgiven, becuase moviegoers respect talent. P.S.: I really think that Gibson should see a therapist.

  7. Sugar tits.

    You look like a Jew.

    Those two comments have more bearing on whether or not I would pay any money to see another Mel Gibson movie.

  8. Probably not because of all the bad publicity. However, he could be a nom at the Golden Globes or another lesser award show.

  9. Well, why don’t we all drop the “holier than thou” attitude? Those rants were private. And that’s exactly where the story ends for each and every moral being. Which is probably what you want to be.

    I’m sorry for Gibson having been embroiled in this. But storms pass, art is forever, as Werner Herzog would say.

    So go for the art, release the film and let’s talk about what lies at the heart of this business – story, performance, direction.

  10. I would love to see this film and I’m sure Gibson is great in it BUT I don’t think a 2010-release date is a good idea. The whole scandal is just too recent, he wouldn’t get in even if he deserved it. Try 2011…it will be still relatively recent but by the next Awards Season his team could have at least the chance to do some damage control : rehab then ‘I’m so sorry’-interviews, some photo-ops, some voluntary charity work and who knows even the whole Grigorieva-case could be settled by then (by the way the whole case seems fishy to me).

  11. Pete, you’ve got to be kidding me…. In what sort of dreamworld do you actually envision people separating the ‘public’ Mel, from any other Mel they would attempt to conjure up? I think people would need to requisition the darkest of sunglasses and full-brimmed baseball caps just to show up to a theatre and purchase a ticket. No matter how much money Summit spreads around, here, there, or anywhere, it won’t be able to put this film on life support. And Oscar talk???? HA! Did I miss some recent headline about a mass conversion in Hollywood? Summit will have to settle for their upcoming twilight twinkies… this number is already a done deal!

  12. Wow, you guys live in a strange country. The guy said bad things about jews in private and now hes not allowed to work? Makes you wonder where the US will be in 50 years from now.

    1. So, Helen Thomas loses her job and is condemned by the right wing for something SHE said about jews in private, yet Mel Gibson is given a pass?

    2. There is no privacy for celebrities unless they have some tough muscle behind them. Once Mel Gibson starts drinking and susequently breaks the law, he is on his own except for the paparazzi. At that point he becomes his own worst enemy– except for Ari.

    3. Nice try to minimize/ignore him saying “if you get raped by a pack of n****s, it will be your fault,” but it doesn’t fly.

  13. As an awards voter (but not Oscar yet i regret) i would have no trouble evaluating Gibson’s performance on its own merits. I think the man is a scumbag but that doesn’t mean i haven’t enjoyed his performances over the years and continue to enjoy them. I have been looking forward to seeing The Beaver and personally hope Summit does run a campaign so, selfishly, i can see it all the sooner. His personal opinions and issues have no reflection for me on his artistry.

  14. There’s no way he will be nominated for an Oscar no matter how talented he might be (and he is). Life just doesn’t work that way. The Oscars have always been partly (mostly?) a popularity contest and Mel has just pissed off too many people with his hate-filled tirades against Jews, blacks and women. The notion that people vote on talent alone is up there with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. Personally, I have no sympathy for the man. He threatened to kill the mother of his child, didn’t he? That’s bad, right?

  15. Release the damn Film. Let the chips fall where they may. Many talented people worked hard on this, it deserves light of day.

    As far as Mel and Awards, no, he won’t win any, Hollywood hates him too much, but who cares.

    1. we’re complicating it.

      i personally think mel gibson might very well be the sexist, anti-semitic, racist and misogynistic drunk bastard son of satan, but i agree totally.

      release the damn film and let the chips fall where they may. either folks will see it or not. either he’ll win or he won’t.

  16. Making no judgements on Mel Gibson or the Hollywood community, the bigger question is how would he promote this movie? The man obviously is in no state to sit down for an interview. The Media is chomping at the bit to ask him about his indefensible behavior. The best the filmmakers could hope for is an art house release. And even if this movie got into theaters and his performance is fantastic, he still wouldn’t be able to campaign for an Oscar. He needs to do some public pennants so he can talk about something other than this scandal. Maybe then he could reboot his career.

  17. The public turned on Tom Cruise for jumping on a f++++ing couch. Threatening to kill the mother of your child is a WHOLE other thing.

  18. “what are you looking at sugar tits?”
    Still cracks me up. Yeah, it bothers me he let’s loose on antisemitic drunken tirades. Mel’s a dark guy with demons. Ari Emmanuel’s a dark guy who represents demons. Fact is, most in America dont care long as the Movie’s solid.

  19. I think audiences and Academy members will be able to forgive Gibson… at some point. But I think they should use the old rule applied to comedy: it equals tragedy + time. In other words, Summit should definitely release the picture… just not this year, if they want to see a return on their investment. People eventually forget, but those voicemail messages are still in people’s memories, painting a picture of perception (to many, if not most) that Mel is filled with hate.

  20. ripsnorter — your comments place you in the same category you decry — get some therapy.

    As for Mr. Gibson — a broken man — he needs therapy too — will the king’s horses and all the king’s men be able to put him back together — who knows.

    But the this film represents the work of MANY PEOPLE and should not be shelved for the crisis of one. Put together the right campaign with Jodie’s face on it and — Release it.

    1. I’m trying to understand you sbob. Trying again. Nope, it’s not working.

      Nominate the film for Best Picture, by all means, but Pete Hammond talks about whether Mel Gibson could glean a Best Oscar nomination, and maybe even the Award itself. Well, stranger things have happened in real life and it’s up to the Academy to decide. At the same time, how much is it possible to separate the artist from the man? People love Wagner’s music, and I’m one of them, but politically? The man was a virulent anti-semite. And when watching Mel Gibson, for some reason that obviously defeats you, I am unable to get out of my head the fact that this performance, no matter how brilliant, is at the same time coming from an alcholic, racist, anti-semitic mysogenist. But you find that okay, right?

      As for releasing the film itself, that’s another decision and should be taken on purely commercial terms. Does one of its leads come with so much heavy baggage as to sink it? Hmmm, lemme guess.

  21. Here’s hoping The Beaver is released this year. Mel may be crazy and I may never be able to watch Braveheart (one of my favs) without thinking of those damn tapes, but he’s a great actor and a fantastic director. Not seeing this or his planned Viking picture would be a loss for the movie-going public. Plus, if he earns the nom and the win for his performance just imagine how entertaining that speech would be…

  22. What the Academy needs is a panel of psychiatrists to determine the mental health of any artist up for nomination. Of course, only those artists with clean bills of mental/emotional health would be eligible for nomination.

    They then prepare a list of eligible artists and pass it along to the Committee of Minorities who will determine whether the artist is free of prejudice. Only THEN will names be submitted for nomination.

    An additional benefit of this system is that there will likely be fewer than three eligible nominees in each category, thus shortening the length of the annual Academy Awards television show.

  23. Cash is King, if the Beaver makes money and is funny, all will be forgiven.

    Mel is a victim of his age, religion and wealth.

    He’s paying a heavy price.

    1. ??? Seriously?? Mel is a victim?? I dont know if the movie should be released or not, or whether he should be nominated or not if it is, but to say that Mel is a victim of anything is laughable.

      He is paying a heavy price. But not for his age – Bruce willis is only 10 months older. Nor for his wealth, Harrison Ford hasnt faced problems like this, and I suspect he has greater cashflow than Mel. And his religion? The passion of the Christ (which it is probably safe to say as producer and director accurately reflects his fundemental religious beliefs) made over 600 million dollars.

      Mel, like most of us, is only a victim of his own weakness. He drinks too much and says stupid sh*t. Hatefull, homophobic, antisemetic, mysogonistic, racist, evil sh*t.

      The man needs lots of therapy and fewer enablers who justify his actions like you did.

      I have enjoyed many of his performances, and I do wish him some inner peace, but I also think of him as an enemy to decency and I pity his pathetic ways.

  24. The Beaver is a great script about an insane man.

    Mad Max is an insane man.

    This has great fucking movie written all over it!

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