Mel Gibson earned an Oscar nod on Monday in the Best Director category for the World War II epic “Hacksaw Ridge” — his first Academy Award nomination in more than 20 years.
This is the first time the actor-director has been recognized by the Academy since his wins in 1996 for “Braveheart,” when he won Best Director and the film won Best Picture. (The film won five Oscars total.)
“Hacksaw Ridge” also earned lead actor Andrew Garfield a Best Actor nod, bringing the film’s total Oscar nomination count to six.
“What could be more exciting than listening to the nominations being announced while holding my newborn son!” Gibson said in a statement, alluding to his ninth child, son Lars Gerard, who was born Friday to girlfriend Rosalind Ross. “This is a truly wonderful honor.”
“The Academy’s recognition of our 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,” he added.
The recognition is a first signal that Gibson is being let back into Hollywood’s fold following anti-Semitic slurs he made to a police officer more than a decade ago — which became highly publicized and damaging to his professional reputation.
One of the first signals that Gibson was a Hollywood pariah no more was when “Hacksaw Ridge” premiered at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills last October.
As Gibson walked down the aisle to take the stage after the film screened, the audience gave a rapturous standing ovation.
“Some say it’s a war film. I think it’s a love story,” Gibson said before the film screened.
While attempting to make his Hollywood comeback after being shunned for many years, Gibson has been forced to address some of his most notorious screws-ups on national television.
During an appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” in November, Gibson addressed his past crimes against society — and the LAPD, joking that his life’s regrets “tend to come in clusters.”
“Hacksaw Ridge” had less heat before its own festival premiere in Venice, Italy.
It tells the harrowing true story of a conscientious objector named Desmond Doss (Garfield) who nonetheless saved dozens of lives in one of the war’s bloodiest battles.