Film Critic Applies a Hacksaw to Best Picture Category

Sexiest Man Alive in 1986, longest shot in Hollywood in 2017

At this Sunday’s 89th Annual Academy Awards, the most shocking theoretical upsets involve Mel Gibson. A Hacksaw Ridge win for either Best Picture or Best Director would be much more earth-shaking than say Denzel Washington taking home Best Actor for Fences.

Today in The Guardian, Paul MacInnes makes that general case. Under the headline “Why Hacksaw Ridge Should Win the Best Picture Oscar,” he argues that it is Gibson’s contentious personal beliefs that make the movie so memorable:

The film is more than a simple derring-do World War II flick, even one as epic and meticulously made as Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (which earned 11 Oscar nominations and won five). It is a film that could not have been made by anyone other than Gibson.

Gibson’s religious beliefs have provoked their own controversies, but there’s no denying they give him a perspective shared by few other filmmakers. Both The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto explored faith with a visceral fascination and while it’s sublimated here through the prism of a war movie, it produces distinctive results.

At the other end of the spectrum today, Geek Nation managing editor Michael Hinton has penned a piece titled “Don’t Expect Me to Forgive Mel Gibson.” If Mel pulls off a major-category win Sunday, this reporter wants everyone to know he won’t be happy about it:

Hollywood forgets, however, because Hollywood likes money. I don’t blame Hollywood–it is show business after all. But there are even limits to that.

For me, Mel Gibson is one of those limits. While I will do my journalistic duty and cover Gibson’s time in the spotlight this weekend–whether he wins or loses–it doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it, or agree with him earning those accolades in the first place.

No doubt host Jimmy Kimmel and his writing team have been debating all week if, when and how far to go with the topic of Gibson in the opening monologue. Unless The Academy has perhaps hinted they would prefer that be off-limits.