‘Hacksaw Ridge’ could bring Mel Gibson back to Oscars for first time since ‘Braveheart’

Mel Gibson has enjoyed success as both an actor, including defining roles as Mad Max and Martin Riggs (“Lethal Weapon”), and as a director, winning an Oscar for the 1995 Best Picture winner “Braveheart” and helming the box office juggernaut “The Passion of the Christ.” But in recent years, he is best-known for his off-screen antics. Could “Hacksaw Ridge,” his first film as a director in a decade, return him to the awards spotlight? He’s proven he’s still got his talent and technique and the film is a hit with both audiences and critics.

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The reviews have been very positive, with many praising both Gibson’s direction and Andrew Garfield’s performance as Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who became a WWII hero. It merits an impressive score of 89 at Rotten Tomatoes. Among those critics who were most enthusiastic is  Peter Travers of Rolling Stone who called it “the best war film since ‘Saving Private Ryan.’ It is violent, harrowing, heartbreaking and unforgettable. And yes, it was directed by Mel Gibson. He deserves a medal, too.”

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Travers believes Gibson is worthy of a shiny golden prize but will Oscar voters? “Hacksaw Ridge” has been described repeatedly in reviews as ‘harrowing’ and the academy often shies away from films as brutal as this one. And Gibson carries the baggage of his past with him. But Hollywood does love a good comeback story. And what cannot be denied is Gibson’s talent for strong filmmaking that stands out among more mainstream fare.

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Can he get into this year’s crowded Best Director race? After all, the field is rich with many rising writer/directors as well as academy favorites like Martin Scorsese and Denzel Washington. Gibson won Oscars for both directing and producing “Braveheart,” which was named as the Best Picture of 1995. He also won the Golden Globe for Best Director that year and contended at both the BAFTA and DGA Awards.

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Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. How do you think “Hacksaw Ridge” will fare with academy voters? Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how this film is faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.

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