Mel Gibson hasn't been too much in the news lately--he's a bit of a tarnished commodity--which makes it all the more interesting that the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival has decided to to award him the Crystal Globe this year.
The award, presented to its recipient for an 'outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema,' is the festival's top honor. Gibson will also present a special screening of "Apocalypto," his controversial --and fabulously shot--2006 follow-up to "The Passion of the Christ," set in the twilight years of the Mayan empire.
Of course, Mel Gibson is a two-time Oscar winner: he won best director and best picture awards for "Braveheart," so he's not an unserious filmmaker in any way. But he has acted in just one film a year since 2010--from his performance as a mentally troubled man using a puppet to communicate in Foster's "The Beaver," which was rejected by audiences, to actioners like Robert Rodriguez's "Machete Kills" and the upcoming "The Expendables 3." He hasn't been back behind the camera since "Apocalypto."
Gibson also has his defenders amongst the glitterati. Back in 2011, pals Jodie Foster and Robert Downey, Jr. used the American Cinematheque Ball tribute to Downey as an opportunity to defend their pal, begging for Hollywood to cut him some slack. "Forgive my friend his trespasses," Downey, Jr. said. ""Allow him to continue his great and ongoing contribution to our collective art without shame, he has hugged the cactus long enough."
And most recently, in a remarkably frank (and perhaps ill-advised) Playboy interview that is trending on Twitter (it's worth reading in its entirety), veteran actor Gary Oldman stuck up for Gibson, saying that he believes that "political correctness is crap":
I don’t know about Mel. He got drunk and said a few things, but we’ve all said those things. We’re all fucking hypocrites. That’s what I think about it. The policeman who arrested him has never used the word n----r or that f---ing Jew? I’m being brutally honest here. It’s the hypocrisy of it that drives me crazy. Or maybe I should strike that and say “the N word” and “the F word,” though there are two F words now.