NEW YORK (AP) — Mel Gibson is having quite a week: On Friday, he became a father for the ninth time and on Tuesday he earned an unexpected Oscar nomination, capping what appears to be a remarkable comeback from Hollywood's version of Siberia.
"What could be more exciting than listening to the nominations being announced while holding my newborn son!" Gibson said in a statement after his "Hacksaw Ridge" earned six nominations Tuesday, including one for him as best director.
Gibson as little as five years ago was a pariah and fodder for late-night comedians after a series of rants and scandals prompted some of the industry's top players to say they won't work with him.
Gibson was one of the world's biggest box office draws following roles in the "Mad Max" and "Lethal Weapon" popcorn franchises, as well as more serious fare such as "Ransom," ''The Patriot" and "Braveheart," which earned him Oscars for best picture and best director.
But his profile nosedived in 2006 after he went into an anti-Semitic tirade as he was being arrested on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, on suspicion of driving while drunk. Gibson later apologized and was sentenced to probation and alcohol treatment. He was listed the third-worst celebrity in 2006 in an AP-AOL News poll, behind only Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
Gibson then pleaded no contest in 2011 to one count of misdemeanor spousal battery of his former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. He was sentenced to three years of probation, domestic violence counseling and two days of community service. Audio recordings surfaced of disturbing arguments between the two.
"Hacksaw Ridge," the story of a pacifist army medic in World War II, is Gibson's first film he's directed since 2006's "Apocalypto." He also directed the controversial 2004 box-office hit "The Passion of the Christ."
Gibson, whose girlfriend is the writer Rosalind Ross, has said he's been sober for many years. Andrew Garfield, who earned an Oscar nomination in "Hacksaw Ridge," said Gibson has changed, calling it "a new dawn."
"I'm just really glad that his work has been recognized in this way and that his talents are being recognized," said Garfield. "And also what's being recognized, I feel, is that he's done a lot of healing and a lot of work within himself and that whatever happened 10 years ago happened 10 years ago."
Gibson's Hollywood rehabilitation began in 2011 with the dark comedy "The Beaver," directed by and co-starring his longtime friend Jodie Foster, his co-star in 1994's "Maverick."
Film Writer Lindsey Bahr contributed from Los Angeles.