The stars come out to toast Mel Gibson

When the American Museum of the Moving Image decides to salute Mel Gibson, you can count on two things: Tinseltown’s A-listers and racy jokes (for the record, Gibson’s favorite involves Joe Pesci and a cigar). On March 7, NYC’s Waldorf-Astoria was brimming with both. ”He is the most beloved actor in Hollywood; that’s why you get the magnificent turnout,” says Gibson’s Maverick costar Jodie Foster of the famous crowd, which included Lethal pal Danny Glover, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Glenn Close, and Matthew Modine. Among the more Mel-like moments: a salacious video poem from Dame Edna Everage, and the presentation of the cup — as in the athletic protective kind — by Ransom bad guy Gary Sinise. Finally, a teary-eyed Gibson took the stage. Within minutes, though, he was his old prankster self. ”Oh, there’s something I must do,” he said, and then drew a mustache on the gigantic close-up of his face. Now that’s a brave heart.