Even in a night full of awkward moments, Mel Gibson's appearance on stage Sunday night at the Golden Globes was among the cringiest.
Gibson may have thought his rare public outing would boost interest in upcoming projects, including his first directing effort in a decade, but abrasive host Ricky Gervais seized the moment to make some seriously uncomfortable live television.
Moments after Hungary's "Son of Saul," a Holocaust drama, won the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s award for best foreign film, Gervais introduced Gibson with a reference to the actor's past anti-Semitic comments.
"I blame NBC for this terrible situation," Gervais said of Gibson's appearance on the telecast. "Mel blames ... well, we know who Mel blames."
A bizarre back-and-forth ensued: Gibson retaliated by saying that seeing Gervais periodically "reminds me to get a colonoscopy," and Gervais, standing in the stage wings, asked, "What the ... does sugar ... mean?" a reference to a rude remark Gibson was accused of making to a female police officer during his 2006 DUI arrest.
Ostensibly, the purpose of Gibson's appearance at the Golden Globes was to introduce nominee "Mad Max: Fury Road," the critically acclaimed reboot of the dystopian film series that made him a star — and to remind audiences what they once loved about him.
Gibson has worked sporadically as an actor since a series of racist, sexist, anti-Semitic meltdowns made the once-beloved star of "Braveheart" and "Lethal Weapon" an industry pariah. Most notably he made the Jodie Foster-directed drama "The Beaver," in 2011.
But he had reason to try to win back some fans Sunday night. In 2016, he is scheduled to release his first film as a director since 2006's "Apocalypto" as well as a major acting vehicle. Gibson shot "Hacksaw Ridge," an independently financed biopic about a World War II army medic played by Andrew Garfield, last fall in Australia. Lionsgate will distribute "Hacksaw Ridge," which also stars Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn.
The studio is also scheduled to release Gibson's next film as an actor, "Blood Father," a thriller in which he plays an ex-con who reunites with his estranged teenage daughter to protect her from drug dealers. Lionsgate has not given either film a release date.
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