After hours of speeches dedicated to Robert Downey Jr. and his craft, the man of the hour finally got on stage to accept his award at The 25th annual American Cinematheque Award gala, and he did so with the help of a man with a “checkered past” like his - Mel Gibson.
Prior to taking the stage, the “Iron Man” star placed a kiss on his pregnant wife Susan Downey’s cheek before ascending to the stage amidst a standing ovation of a crowd that included celebs like Jennifer Aniston, Jon Favreau and Jodie Foster.
Downey Jr. waited until the entire crowd was seated before beginning his speech, first stating he’d wait for the audience to stop clapping since “this is my f*****g time!”
After Gibson presented the American Cinemateque award to the actor, what he referred to as a “doorstop,” to Downey Jr., Gibson stepped aside and listened as his longtime friend launched into an anecdote of how Gibson took him under his wing.
Downey Jr. recalled Gibson saying that if he accepted his inner demons, or “hug the cactus,” as Gibson referred to the process, Gibson would help him out during his battles with substance abuse several years ago.
Indeed Gibson came to the aid of his fellow actor, giving Downey Jr. a starring role in “The Singing Detective” — a role which had been developed for Gibson himself, placed food on the table for him and all that he asked in return was that Downey Jr. would someday help out the next guy.
Little did he know, Downey Jr. joked, that that man would end up being Gibson himself and Downey Jr. took his opportunity on Friday night in front of some of Hollywood’s elite to return the favor.
Downey Jr. turned to the audience, full of actors, executives and industry personnel and said that Gibson had “hugged the cactus” for long enough and it was about time he was shown the forgiveness that Hollywood had bestowed on him.
The crowd once again rose to a standing ovation, but this time for Gibson. Applause resounded throughout the auditorium of the Beverly Hilton, as Gibson humbly accepted the applause - perhaps a sign of Hollywood’s forgiveness to come.