By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 23, 2010 at 9:43AM
Jodie Foster and Mel Gibson have been close friends for sixteen years, since they met on the set of Maverick. Foster stands up for him each time he gets himself into terrible trouble--and worries about his drinking--and this time is no exception. She gave a long-lead interview to More Magazine, which was originally timed to come out in conjunction with the release of her new movie The Beaver, in which Gibson stars as a man who talks to a sock puppet. Word is, he's very good in the picture, which was in the mix for a Toronto berth worthy of a serious adult drama with awards potential. Foster described her star to More as the "easiest, nicest person I've ever worked with...The second I met him, I said, 'I will love this man for the rest of my life.' "
That was before Gibson's "Tapegate" rants and racial slurs aimed at ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Since then The Beaver has been sitting on the shelf as Summit tries to decide if, when and how to release it. When More followed up with Foster, she said:
"When you love a friend, you don't abandon them when they are struggling. Of course, Mel is an undeniably gifted actor and director, and The Beaver is one of his most powerful and moving performances. But more importantly, he is and has been a true and loyal friend. I hope I can help him get through this dark moment."
Even if The Beaver lands a late-year qualifying run and a 2011 release--which is the right thing for Summit to do for a director of Foster's stature, similar to Paramount's 2008 booking of Ed Zwick's World War II Jewish drama Defiance--there will never be a Mel Gibson Oscar campaign.
At this point, the idea of Oscar and Gibson inhabiting the same universe is absurd. Come on. Gibson could get the best reviews on the planet and SAG and the Academy would still give him the cold shoulder. Believe me, he really is persona non grata in Hollywood. Sexual infractions are often forgiven (Charlie Chaplin, Roman Polanski, Woody Allen). This is about racism and anti-semitism--two things that the Liberal Academy cannot abide. Gibson will likely get the opportunity to star and direct movies again-- he's still popular with many moviegoers. But an Oscar campaign or nomination? Never.
[More Jodie Foster photo by Peggy Sirota]