Jodie Foster Sending Mel Gibson Film 'The Beaver' To All Academy Members

EXCLUSIVE: In an unprecedented move this late in Oscar season, two-time Academy Award winning actress and director Jodie Foster, with the help of her film’s distributor Summit Entertainment, is sending DVD screeners of The Beaver (the Mel Gibson film she directed and co-starred in) to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Summit tells me they expect to start shipping Monday so the Academy  members should have this in their mailboxes by Wednesday.

That’s right. The Beaver. It’s NOT nominated for a single Oscar — or any other award for that matter. It opened and closed quickly last May in the wake of  Gibson’s latest scandal and grossed just under $1 million in its brief, unsuccessful U.S. run. Although reviews were mixed it did receive a 69% fresh rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes and, despite his personal woes, Gibson got some of the best personal notices of his career. But when awards season arrived Summit nixed a campaign and did not send out screeners to the Academy as they did for two other movies, 50/50 and A Better Life (the first screener sent to Academy members on September 7).

The fact that there were no screeners and no Oscar nominations has not deterred Foster who feels strongly about her movie and wants it to be seen by her peers. In a letter that will accompany the DVD (read the letter here), Foster begins by writing: “It is unusual to get a screener after the Oscar nominations have been announced, as the final chapter of award season is nearing, when nearly all of this year’s movies have been viewed and assessed. That is because this screener of The Beaver is not ‘For Your Consideration’. It is simply for your enjoyment.” Later she says “The Beaver is an unusual film, to say the least, with a voice and tone unlike any other. Mel Gibson’s performance is undeniably deep and raw. I am so proud of the work we did together.”

The DVD that will be sent to Oscar voters is the commercial consumer version, usually forbidden by Academy rules. Distributors must make special screeners and adhere to strict, no frills packaging. The Academy rules also don’t allow a letter to be sent as Foster is doing. In this case Summit got special permission from the Academy in order to send it out in this form. Because it has no nominations, and write-in votes haven’t been permitted in decades, what’s the harm?

Sure Foster wishes the film had been sent earlier to really be considered but in a phone conversation this morning she told me it wasn’t her decision. It is now and she is personally paying for all the expense of the mailing. “I am not the distributor. That’s their decision. It’s a pretty simple desire on my part. You work incredibly hard on a movie. I’ve made a lot of movies and I don’t think in the last twenty years since they’ve had the screener process, even when they had videos, I don’t think I’ve had a movie that didn’t come out on the screener, even the ones that really honestly should not have been for any consideration,” she laughed.

So why do this now? “I think it’s become at the end of the year it’s the way people see the films, view the films in the independent world as well as the mainstream world that they might not have gotten to any other way. It’s increasingly the way people see the films. Whether we like it or not it’s the way the film community really keeps up. And we had a bit of a compromised theatrical release, and Blockbuster is out of business,” she says. She talked to Gibson yesterday and said he’s pleased she’s doing this. “I think Mel is happy as am I that this is an opportunity for just the film to be viewed and really for Mel not to be talked about, except that he gave a wonderful performance that I am incredibly grateful for. I didn’t get that opportunity when it was released.”

She has no animosity toward Summit for not including the film in their Oscar campaign plans. “It’s their purview. I have to say I do love these guys and I have had a great experience with them, and if anything I have an even fonder feeling for them because we went through World War II together. We were in the trenches together and they were really amazing,” she said.

Foster wasn’t even put off at the Golden Globes (where she was a nominee for Best Actress — Musical or Comedy for Carnage) when host Ricky Gervais made her film the butt of one of his jokes. Talking about NBC’s guidelines for his monologue he said, “I musn’t mention Mel Gibson again…even Jodie Foster’s Beaver. I haven’t seen it myself. I’ve spoken to a lot of guys here. They haven’t seen it either. That doesn’t mean it’s not any good,”he said as cameras caught Foster in the audience laughing harder than anyone.

“It (the Globes) was fun. We had a great time. Honestly I made a movie called ‘The Beaver’. Do you really think there isn’t a joke about it?” she says. But clearly she is happy her peers will get a chance to judge the movie on its own terms this Oscar season, even if it isn’t part of the Oscar conversation.

“I didn’t become an actor or director to make a hundred gazillion dollars. I make movies because it is my art form. It’s the thing that I love and how I express myself. And to not be seen by the people you talk to and work with that are part of that experience is really sad. I have to say I discovered a lot of interesting movies this year that I am so glad I got to see that may not be talked about in the Oscars, may not have any consideration in the Oscars, didn’t get nominations but were really enormous experiences for me and I am so glad I got that (DVD) box and was able to see them, films like We Need To Talk About Kevin, Martha Marcy May Marlene, In The Land of Blood and Honey. I would not have seen them any other way,” she says.

And now she’s hoping her peers will discover her lost film the same way. Get ready Academy, The Beaver is about to become your final screener of the season.

  1. For the script to go from #1 on The Black List to only a 69%, it means either Jodie didn’t direct it well, or the script was vastly overrated.

    Given that SAFE HOUSE was high on The Black List, and is a terrible script as the reviews suggest, I’m guessing it’s not Jodie’s fault, but was just not that great of a script.

    1. What?

      War Horse was above 70% and that film was terrible. Horribly directed. Beaver is ten times that film. Rotten Tomatoes lies.

      1. Exactly, nobody in Hollywood knows anything is correct! companies are making terrible movies just so they can get something out there.

        1. The Beaver was tonally off. One would think from growing up on movie sets Foster would know a lot more about directing a film than she actually does. This film didn’t even know where the camera should be. Just cause Jodie Foster can afford to send her film out to everyone doesn’t mean its worth seeing. Her acting has settled into such earnest and humorless work. It’s sad. She needs an acting and directing teacher since Hollywood loves her so much.

          1. It was tonally off, then they fucked with the ending. And Gibson’s performance was troublesome. I know you right wing wackos thing Mel is your sacred son and you have an utter contempt for hollwood (which I share). But it was a maudlin mess.

    2. Perhaps you’ve never heard of what’s euphemistically referred to as “The Development Process”.

      A great script can become a great movie — or not. There are many, many ways for a movie to be derailed.

    3. Irrelevant. Per the Black List itself:

      “The Black List is not a ‘best of’ list. It is, at best, a ‘most liked’ list.”

      The Black List about buzz, not quality.

    4. This is all so sad and strange. Jodie Foster has no taste and didn’t seem to mind hiring a mysogynistic, homophobic, anti-semitic nut job. She considers him a close friend. What does that say about Jodie Foster? I mean seriously.
      Not to mention the mess she made of this lovely script?

      1. It means that Jodie who has known Gibson for about 20 years knows something you dont know and that she is not a fair weather friend. I thought The Beaver was flawed, Gibson was outstanding and there is no way the Academy is going to touch it.

    5. So often Black List scripts read better than they play, and this is one of them. And you’re right, Ms Foster is a talented and bright woman, but directing is just not her forte.

  2. And the end of the matter is a banal film, with Gibson’s cliched, telegraphing-to-the-moonn performance. It came across as a work of self-pity and was not rigorous in its examination of Gibson’s character, just an old-fashioned showboat for an actor seeking redemption and an Oscar nomination in the process, except the audience turned down the film. Gibson is not without talent, but, to paraphrase a line of the late Penelope Gilliatt’s, “The Beaver asks for favors, and it swims with fins of lead.”

    1. This movie is absolute dreck. Jodie Foster can’t act or direct. She’s so untalented. The script was destroyed by her. She’s sadly out of touch.

  3. I strongly support Jodie Foster in this move.
    The Beaver was an excellent movie, filled with the emotional performances that an Oscar contender usually has.
    It’s very possible that if Summit had submitted the film to The Academy, then Mel Gibson would have gotten a nomination. And they perhaps didn’t want him to be at the awards.

    Shame. Mel Gibson is an excellent actor. Might not be the nicest person, but damnit, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    1. it’s one thing to be without sin… it’s quite another to be a racist, sexist, mysoginistic anti-semite… which Mr. Gibson has time and again proven himself to be.

      1. Gibson’s tirades notwithstanding, I have a hard time believing the man could be a racist, sexist mysoginistic anti-semite and last as long as he has in Hollywood. Especially when people who have worked with him have long said that he’s a wonderful person.

        Gibson obviously has some issues with booze and rage, but a person’s entire life or personality cannot be defined by a few isolated incidents. You don’t like him and I get that, but your post suggest to me that you have your own issues with intolerance.

        1. There are plenty of racist, sexist, and/or misogynistic players who are doing great in Hollywood — execs as well as actors, in television as well as film — usually in a casual way. By casual, I mean that it is is so accepted by their peers or those they work around that even individuals who think of themselves as “good people” and are perceived as “good people” make unfortunate creative or hiring choices where it plays out — and they are not aware of it.

          They just don’t go off on drunken public rants so it’s not quite so in your face.

      2. “fr” – it is clear from your other comments that you don’t like Mel Gibson, and continuously call him “racist, anti-semite, etc etc”

        In fact, you’re ruining other people’s posts just by randomly shouting out.

        One suggestion – relax. People make mistakes. You have to learn to accept that.

        What if those mistakes that you made in your life were not forgiven by those around you? What if everyone brushed you off after one, two, three mistakes? How long do you expect to survive?

        Mel of course has anger and alcohol issues. And he should work on it.

        But we’re not in a place to judge. Especially not a person who has been around the industry for so long, whose movies have won numerous academy awards, and whose peers used to line up for a chance to work with him.

        Now… everyone’s jumping on the band wagon and is afraid to work with him, because they think that the “populus” is going to stone them to death as well.

        Seriously. Relax!

        1. I don’t see how anyone’s comments were “ruined”. Everyone here is just letting their opinion be seen. Jody’s last movies were not up to her acting in “Silence of the Lambs” her choice of placing Mel Gibson was ill considered as was shown by his tirade which spoiled any chance of his being helpful to this film.
          Mel is very disappointing to me. such talent and so messed up. Hope he is willing to get help for his anger and alcohol use.

  4. “dis” having a great script does not mean a great movie. The script and the movie are NEVER the same thing.

    It takes more than the script to get it done.

    Mel Gibson did an awesome job, and should have been given credit. Narrow-mindedness rules again in Hollywood.

    1. if anyone is narrow-minded… it’s the racist, anti-semitic freak-show starring in this ill-advised disaster of a movie.

      1. No, narrow-minded is your perception of Gibson, a human being guilty of nothing more than allowing anger to get the better of him and unleashing harmful words on the world, a crime everyone– including you–are guilty of.

        A man should not be judged by his words yelled in drunkeness and/or anger, no matter how bad they be and no matter how much the media likes to parade a man’s mistakes in front of the world. He should be judged by his actions. Gibson employs Jewish/ African American/ Hispanic people, has worked with them and been friends with them his whole career. He gave the director of his new movie, “Get the Gringo” his first shot at directing. It would pain your viewpoint to know that the guy is Jewish. Gibson’s brother is gay and has spoken out about how supportive Gibson was when he told his family. Gibson has done loads of charity work for many years for underprivileged children, the rainforest, etc, and was even the second more generous celebrity of the last year. Ask someone who actually knows or has worked with Gibson and they’ll sing his praises.

        The only people who point the finger are those so frightened of their own shortcomings being exposed that they try endlessly to direct the eyes of others upon someone else, especially one who’s already made a mistake. The truth is we all make mistakes, and we all make the same mistakes repeatedly. It’s hard for people to make the changes about themselves that they wish to, and one of the hardest things for people to change is their opinion of someone once their mind has been made up. Your mind has been made up, but I strongly think you should reassess the man.

        A man’s words do not make him racist/misogynist/bigoted/etc, it’s his actions, and Gibson’s actions are not consistent with that assessment that people wish to easily jump to.

        1. Whether I like him or not, think he is a bad person or not, at some point a public figure’s public persona and/or unpleasant public statements and actions are so vivid it is hard for a me to separate out the public person from any character the person plays on screen. That’s why I haven’t paid to see a Gibson film in years. I have had the same reaction to several other actors after various well-publicized shenanigans. Only extremely rarely does an actor’s ability to create, perform, and lose themselves in a character truly supercede my preconception. This kind of reaction may have as much to do with the lukewarm response (and lack of award nominations) to Gibson’s performance as anything else. Granted, I’ve not seen the film, despite having seen and liked films previously directed by Foster. While I might give it a look when it ends up on TV, I’m in no hurry since I know I’ll probably be pulled out of the experience of the film by visions of his mug shot and memories of the tape recordings made by his prior girlfriend, which just isn’t my idea of fun.

  5. There were some amazing over looked performances this year. Mel Gibson in ‘The Beaver’ was one for sure and Ryan Gosling in ‘Drive.’ OMG. Instead they nominate recognize Jean Dujarbin for ‘The Artist.’ Really? Everyone I know (even in our industry) thought that movie was terrible. It just goes to prove one thing… Hollywood once again believes its own hype.

    1. It’s fine to not like a movie and it’s even fine to think it’s terrible. But I went to a screening in Hollywood of this movie and it got a standing ovation. Obviously “everyone” doesn’t hate it. In fact, other than the people who year after year bash whatever movie is the frontrunner for the Oscar regardless of what it is, this movie is overwhelmingly praised by most. You must not know a lot of people (even in our industry.)

  6. I think The Beaver was one of the best films of 2011. It’s a shame Mel’s personal life killed any chance of this film succeeding. I think it’s some of his and Jodi’s best work and I’m happy for her that Summit is sending out copies to voters for her.

  7. Seems like a rather pathetic move if you ask me. Sending a flopper like THE BEAVER to every Academy member…’s a sad cry for attention.

  8. …but maybe the first screener of an entertainment industry that will be completely different in the 21st century. When you go to a movie today you have been manipulated and throttled into a preconceived opinion when you sit down and that’s not just about Mel Gibson’s very obvious lifelong struggle with alcoholism. (Count up the magnificent English, Irish, Welsh, Australian movie stars and actors with THOSE “Troubles;” it’s hereditary and a very long list. They have to be particularly careful.) It’s difficult for movies to surprise today. I think she made a shrewd and clever move. I’ll say one thing : I wish Jodie Foster were MY friend. Rob Lowe points out in his book that only one person in Hollywood contacted him during his own version of “the Troubles” : ” Jodie Foster. Great actress, old school glamour, class act. She can punch me in the face with such a move and a letter anytime. In fact – I WELCOME IT!

  9. Hey Jodie Foster, this is ONE WAY to get folks to see your movie – send it directly to them! You’re a Genius!

  10. I didnt know there was an Oscar category for films that gross less then 1/3 what it cost to produce…if that’s the case, THE BEAVER is a shoe-in

  11. doesn’t amount to hill of beans… justa dvd of a movie that has run its course now in hands of academy folks

  12. Mel Gibson gave an awesome performance. I nominated him for his role in The Beaver at every opportunity. It’s an actor’s performance that matters…if not, who could we vote for? I applaud Jodie Foster for her artistry, loyalty, conviction . . . and guts!

  13. There’s nothing Hollywood loves more than free stuff. I’m sure the academy would have shunned Mel anyway, so it’s a classy move on the part of his friend, something in short supply in Hollywood.

  14. I wonder if Robert Downey Jr sent a handwritten note along with each copy of THE BEAVER begging that Hollywood forgive Mel and pleading that they let him work again! Jodie, sorry but this move makes you look REAL pathetic!

  15. C’mon, she obviously is disappointed that The Beaver has come and gone without much recognition. IMO, it is an underrated film and I don’t blame her for trying to get people to watch her film.

    Mel’s scar is just too big and his bankability and BO attraction is crushed permanently. Poor Jodie should’ve gone with someone else.

    Forgiving Mel doesn’t mean those people will watch his films.

    1. The dollar amount is secondary to what it’s costing her professionally. There is a quiet backlash against her for endlessly supporting Gibson. Hollywood’s hatred for him is unfortunately rubbing off on her. I’ve always believed that if she had engaged in the same type of behavior, Gibson would not have been loyal to her and would have thrown her under a bus. I think Jodie’s admirable and unwavering loyalty is misplaced and totally wasted on him. He would have stabbed her in the back in a heart beat.

      1. I am sure Gibson would stand by her, just as he did for RDJ when everyone else treated him like a pariah. Part of the reason why he has loyal friends.

      2. Jody Foster is out of touch with reality. This movie was HORRIBLY directed. She can’t act as well. She can’t play an opposite. It’s impossible to watch her. What happened? Was she ever good?

  16. Just watched Gibson in Payback (on late night). He’s a great actor as is she. Haven’t seen this picture but not a member…..yet.

  17. I am confused. The Academy has had a long standing policy of not supplying nor officially sanctioning screeners, leaving that task to distributors. So since when, and at who’s instructions did the Academy suddenly reverse itself on this very sensitive issue. For an organization that asks its members and the general public to support seeing a film in a theatre and not a home screener, who at AMPAS decided unilaterally to lie down for this one and provide its membership list to Summit? While I support Ms. Foster as an actor and director of great talent, this move, if in fact endorsed by AMPAS, sets a very dangerous president and should never have been allowed to stand.

    1. I think the dangerous president would be Rick Santorum or New Gingrich or Mitt Romney. But I’m nos sure what that has to do with the Academy or The Beaver.

  18. jodie is a class act. The movie was ok but Mel’s performance was great, much better than some Oscar nominees.
    We all should have friends like Jodie.

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