Will Mel Gibson‘s Hacksaw Ridge (Summit, 11.4) earn any Oscar nominations? The favorable reviews and robust box office (it earned $12 million from 2886 theatres last weekend) suggest that Gibson could earn a Best Director nom…maybe. But that bushy white beard he’s been wearing makes him look like Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson, and this only reminds industry yoters that he’s a rabid arch-conservative, which in turn reminds everyone of his fly-off-the-handle comments of a decade ago that turned him into an industry pariah.

So if Gibson really wants to turn over a new leaf he’ll lose the beard. But the beard isn’t “his” — it’s for a film he’s shooting (or about to shoot) called The Madman and the Scholar. Gibson will portray noted lexicographer and Oxford English Dictionary author James Murray“>James Murray, and Sean Penn will play Penn will play Dr. William Chester Minor, a retired army surgeon who contributed thousands of quotations to the O.E.D., while residing in an insane asylum. (Here’s my Hacksaw Ridge review.) So the beard stays.

(l. to r.) Hacksaw Ridge director, Madman and the Scholar star Mel Gibson, British lexicographer and Oxford English Dictionary editor James Murray, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.