BY LUKE WATHEN
This year’s annual Oscar ceremony held several highlights that the news and media obsessed over as they do every year. From Warren Beatty’s incorrect announcement of the “Best Picture” award to Jimmy Kimmel and Matt Damon’s ongoing comedic feud, this year’s Academy Awards were nothing short of memorable.
However, one detail that was easy to overlook was an interesting bit of Hollywood redemption. Amid all the nominees for the various categories stood the film “Hacksaw Ridge,” a successful World War I movie that was directed by a man whose name previously invoked disdain and discomfort.
The man in question is Mel Gibson, an acting veteran who went from Hollywood A-Lister to Box Office poison but is now seeing a major resurgence in the industry.
Gibson went from household name to the object of ridicule in the mid-2000s because of an alcohol-fueled anti-Semitic rant that was captured on video and spread like wildfire. Despite his proud history in films such as “Braveheart,” “Mad Max” and “The Patriot,” Gibson fell from grace quickly and brutally, fading into ridicule and scorn.
With Gibson now returning to the limelight, an interesting dilemma emerges on how celebrities should be judged. More specifically, whether they deserve to be viewed as people or professionals.
There are numerous entertainment figures that invoke equal parts admiration and ire: Kanye West is known as much for his musical talent as his massive ego, Chevy Chase is a beloved comedian that few can stand in person and Alec Baldwin is famous for both his acting and his unpredictable temper.
Despite these flaws, these figures remain well-regarded in the world of entertainment. Perhaps it is because of their failure to single out a group in their bouts of affluent anger, but it seems somewhat hypocritical that they have remained relevant throughout the years while figures such as Gibson have been figuratively thrown to the wolves.
When it comes to judging celebrities, it is best to view them for their professional abilities as opposed to their personal lives. When delving into the lives of the celebrity world, judgments can often come off as overly harsh or, at worst, completely arbitrary.
There have been countless celebrity figures in American history that continue to be thought highly of, regardless of their rather unsavory personal lives: automobile inventor Henry Ford was viciously anti-Semitic, children’s author Theo “Dr. Seuss” Lesieg had an affair while his wife was dying and Marilyn Monroe had no qualms about being involved with married men—including another beloved figure, President John F. Kennedy.
The entertainment world is full of beloved figures with shocking scandals, so it is honestly best to not concern yourself with their personal lives and instead judge them for the professional work that they present to the public. With enough searching, it is possible to find dirt on most anyone, especially the rich, famous and affluent.
Let Mel Gibson’s recent success serve as an example of how celebrities should be treated. They are professionals to the public and should be treated as such. Their personal lives should be kept personal and they should be judged on the product of their craft, not on their activities behind the scenes.