Oscar buzz is building for Mel Gibson's new movie Hacksaw Ridge, which recounts the true story of Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield), a WWII combat medic who won a Congressional Medal of Honour despite his refusal to carry a weapon. This week the film landed 13 Australian Academy Award nominations, including best film, director and acting nods for Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving and Rachel Griffiths.

Mel Gibson at the premiere for Hacksaw RidgeMel Gibson at the premiere for Hacksaw Ridge

Gibson says he is not the same man he was 10 years ago, when personal scandals send him into rehab. "I am a member of a 12-step programme and I achieved sobriety like that," says the 60-year-old. "Imagine the worst moment you have ever had being recorded and broadcast to the world, and it wasn't meant to be public. You didn't stand on a soapbox and do it, but that's what happens. It is disheartening when you've been 10 years sober and you have to read every year or so that you're loaded, but you're not. It's a disingenuous reportage."

This year, Gibson also has a lead role in Blood Father. "I enjoy those things, getting up there and doing it. I can do it. I'm reasonably proficient," he jokes about acting. "Of course, my biggest interest is directing. I really love doing that the most. It's the ultimate storytelling experience."

Hacksaw Ridge is a story of tenacious courage. "Doss didn't carry a weapon. He thought it was wrong to kill under any circumstances," Gibson says. "But he had the guts to go into the worst place you can imagine and stick to his convictions, armed with nothing else but sheer faith. That to me is the ultimate superhero. And these guys exist. They are in the armed forces, police officers, social workers."

For his next project, Gibson is returning to the themes of his 2004 hit The Passion of the Christ, looking at the next part of the story, the resurrection. He hopes to once again surprise audiences, rather than present the events everyone thinks they know. "It's sort of a sequel," he says. "It moves on from the resurrection, but jumps back before, after, back to the Old Testament. It's a pretty deep subject because you have to use what's there and not stray too far away, but at the same time to dig deep and illustrate things that perhaps you never thought of before."

Watch the trailer and clips for Hacksaw Ridge: