Downey had selected Gibson to present him with his award at the Beverly Hilton and thanked him for helping him get through his past personal struggles.
He then gave the volatile Gibson a plug in front of the banquet crowd, which was well stocked with the cream of the movie business.
"Unless you are without sin -- and if you are, you're in the wrong industry -- you should forgive him and let him work again," said Downey.
The Hollywood Reporter said Saturday Gibson received a nice ovation from the crowd and recalled how he first met Downey when he cast him as his co-star in "Air America" in 1990. Gibson said he was cautioned Downey might have some personal issues to beware of.
Gibson said he decided, "Nah, he's OK," he said. "Mind you, you have to remember the person making the judgment."