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Mel Gibson Comeback? Gary Oldman Defends Him, Karlovy Vary Fest Awards Crystal Globe

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Jacob Combs | Thompson on Hollywood June 24, 2014 at 1:43PM

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, and Gary Oldman has stuck up for him in Playboy.
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Mel Gibson

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."

But might Gibson's fortunes be rising, at least a tad?  As we reported, distributors were "salivating" over the Gibson-starrer "Blood Father," which Vincent Miraval's Wild Bunch was selling at Cannes.

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.

This article is related to: Mel Gibson, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Awards, Gary Oldman, Cannes


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.