‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Garners Six Oscar Nominations, Including for Mel Gibson

andrew-garfield-hacksaw-ridge-ffbMel Gibson appears to have found his feet again in Hollywood, and it took his very Catholic movie about a Seventh-Day Adventist World War II hero to do it.

In the Academy Awards nominations, released in the early hours of Tuesday, Jan. 24, Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” took nods for best picture, lead actor (Andrew Garfield), best director (Gibson), film editing (John Gilbert), sound editing (Robert Mackenzie, Andy Wright) and sound mixing (Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie, Peter Grace).

This makes it the third highest-nominated film (tied with “Lion” and “Manchester by the Sea”), behind “La La Land,” which got 14, and “Moonlight and “Arrival,” which both earned eight (click here for the full list of nominations).

But before you get too excited, “Hacksaw Ridge” also received three Golden Globe nominations — for the film, Gibson and Garfield — but walked away empty-handed.

HacksawRidgeTeaserPoster_2016June39The film also earned one SAG Awards nod, for outstanding performance by a male actor in a leading role (Garfield).

The Oscar nod for Gibson marks his first nomination since 1996’s “Braveheart,” which earned him best director and best picture. He did receive acting nominations, for “Ransom” in 1997, and “What Women Want,” in 2001.

In the 21st century, Gibson was embroiled in several scandals, including a drunken rant after a DUI bust, the breakup of his marriage and his tempestuous relationship with girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he has a daughter.

And recently, on Jan. 20, the 60-year-old Gibson welcomed child number nine, a son, Lars Gerard, with girlfriend Rosalind Ross.

On the scale of Hollywood misdeeds, this is relatively minor stuff, but it does point up Gibson’s issues with alcohol and his troubled relationship with the Faith.

At a press conference for “Hacksaw Ridge” a few months ago, Gibson (wearing a large Miraculous Medal) described himself as “a poor practitioner.” He also said he was attracted to stories like “Hacksaw” — a portrait of unarmed medic Desmond Doss, recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for singlehandedly saving 75 soldiers on Okinawa — as inspiration, saying, “maybe I could take a leaf out of his book on some level.”

From Variety:

Gibson thanked his cast and crew in a statement and said the Academy’s recognition of the film is “a testament to every single person who worked on Hacksaw Ridge, and to every soldier who made the sacrifices they made to fight for their country, including Desmond Doss.”

“What could be more exciting than listening to the nominations being announced while holding my newborn son!” added Gibson. “This is a truly wonderful honor. I’m especially happy for Andrew Garfield, our producers Bill Mechanic and David Permut, our editor John Gilbert and our incredible sound teams.”

Producer Bill Mechanic tells THR he spent 15 years trying to convince Gibson to direct Hacksaw Ridge. “The first two times he passed.” “The third time, he read the script overnight and committed in the morning.” He says Hacksaw is a tribute to Gibson’s incredible talent. “I think it also shows there is forgiveness in Hollywood even if it might not seem that way.”

Notable, too, is that “Hacksaw” was an independent film, not a big blockbuster. But its quality was so evident that Hollywood somehow swallowed its animus against Gibson and took notice.

In box-office terms, “Hacksaw” ranked 51st for the year in worldwide grosses, with with $157.9M, not that far behind top nomination-getter “La La Land,” at 45, with 174.3M, and above some other nominated films, including “Hidden Figures,” at 80, “Manchester by the Sea,” at 105 and “Lion,” at 146.

Actually, none of the nominated films is anything like a box-office blockbuster.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Not to rain on the parade of this year’s many highly worthy Oscar nominees, but the fact is, most of the best picture nominees have not been all that widely seen, at least by the standards of mainstream Hollywood blockbusters.

As of Tuesday morning, none of the nine films nominated for best picture have crossed the $100 million mark so far at the domestic box office.

While that’s not unprecedented, it’s only the fifth time that’s been the case in the past 20 years. (In 2009, the motion picture academy expanded the best picture race from five nominees to as many as 10, in large part to try to open the Oscars up to more broadly appealing films.)

Three of this year’s best picture nominees —  “La La Land,” “Hidden Figures” and “Arrival” — are within striking distance of the $100 million mark domestically. “Arrival” is the top earner at this point with more than $95 million, but it is in a dwindling number of theaters at this point after two months in release, while “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures,” which have fresher legs, should easily chug past $100 million.

Despite a lot of buzz and early interest, Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” about Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan — which also starred Garfield — got only one Academy Award nomination, for cinematography. It’s also performed poorly at the box office.

The Oscars will be handed out on Sunday, Feb. 26. Prior to that, the Feb. 8 edition of Family Theater Productions’ monthly Prayer & Pasta event will feature a panel — Head of Production Father David Guffey, C.S.C.; Catholic movie reviewer Carl Kozlowski; and Sister Nancy Usselman of the Pauline Center for Media Studies — to discuss and analyze the nominees.

Image: Courtesy Lionsgate

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