Can Mel Gibson stage a comeback?December 14, 2016

Frank Sinatra's career nosedived until he won an Academy Award for "From Here to Eternity" in 1954. Mickey Rourke gave a heartfelt speech after receiving the BAFTA Award (for Best Actor) seven years ago, admitting at one point that "it was good to be back from the darkness". Can it happen to Mel Gibson? Hollywood had an estranged relationship with the actor/director for the last ten years, but what happened at the Star Event Centre could change the course of his career.

"Hacksaw Ridge", Gibson's fifth directorial work (and first in ten years), was the big winner during the 6th Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (or AACTA Awards). It was named Best Film while Gibson received the Best Director honors. Andrew Garfield, who played Desmond Doss, was adjudged Best Actor.

"I'm really honoured and choked up I can't even talk," he said.

The opening scene of this biographical war film would remind some moviegoers of "Saving Private Ryan" while Doss, a US Army corporal who he became the only conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor, could be another Alvin York. (Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for playing Sergeant York.) But the awards season could be compared to the US elections. The winners and nominees would be assured of a project (or two) with a big studio, which could lead back to Mel Gibson.

Let's cite three possible reasons on why Hollywood will let Gibson back in:

Mel Gibson's talent can't go to waste. Some would accuse Hollywood of turning a blind eye on Roman Polanski, but it's simply a case of good artists keeping an eye on each other. Gibson was on the pinnacle of his career after the mammoth success of "Passion of the Christ", which many believed to be far from the conventional depiction of Jesus Christ. Some would point out Pier Paolo Pasolini's Socialist views and how it fitted in the life of Jesus (in "Gospel According to Saint Matthew"), but what happened afterwards changed everyone's perception of Gibson. Many big names in Hollywood may not forget it, but they could give him a second chance after watching "Hacksaw Ridge".

Gibson seemed appreciative of a possible redemption. His thank-you speech would say it all.

There's no other way than going up. Michael Keaton is the latest case. Hollywood actresses aren't that lucky. Meryl Streep is the exception.

Then again, Hollywood may be reluctant at this point. Here are the reasons:

Once you're off the A-list, it might take a miracle to be included again. Gibson should know the feeling while filming "The Expendables 3". It seemed like a cast of has been, which Harrison Ford would turn it down (if there was another Indiana Jones sequel). In Gibson's case, he was too old (and too worn out) for another "Lethal Weapon" sequel.

Image could be everything. Some critics would defend Gibson, pointing out that his recent image won't define his films. Trump's victory might force them to think twice.

No one in Hollywood likes to be chummy with a religious renegade. The majority of artists are Democrats, but they're not liberals as the public think they are.

It's your turn. Can Mel Gibson stage a comeback?

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