OK, I wish this were a bad joke, but it’s real: Disney’s new and quiet Oscar campaigning for Mel Gibson is to convince Academy members that he’s “not as bad as Roman or Woody.” Specifically, I’m told that, to plead with Oscar voters “to look at Mel the artist and not Mel the man”, the studio is saying that Gibson’s drunken anti-Semitic ranting was not as bad as Polanski having sex “with an underage girl”, or Allen having sex “with his step-daughter”. Disney is also pointing to Elia Kazan’s role “naming names” before the Hollywood Un-American Activities Committee to try to bring what Mel did into perspective when it comes to judging Apocalypto. I should point out this is part of a modest attempt by Disney to snag some key nominations for the film. It’s long been my belief that if a litmus test were given for behavior, nobody would ever work in Hollywood again. Nevertheless, I just don’t think Oscar campaigning that underscores the character flaws of other film directors will work.
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