Al Pacino recently received his ninth Academy Award nomination, a milestone he nabbed thanks to playing (via de-aging technology) still MIA teamster god Jimmy Hoffa in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman alongside sometime screen partner Robert De Niro. The big ceremony’s still a few weeks away, but the actor is making the talk show rounds, and, as caught by Entertainment Weekly, telling Jimmy Kimmel about that time he got high at the Oscars while sitting next to Jeff Bridges.
Pacino — who won his sole Oscar for 1993’s Scent of a Woman — was on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Friday night, reminiscing about all the times he’s been to the big to-do. He actually skipped it the first time he was nominated, for the original The Godfather. He did go the next year, when he was nominated for Serpico. But it was the year after that, when he was nominated for The Godfather: Part II, that bore the anecdote he told late night TV viewers.
What made the 47th Academy Awards from 1975 stand out in his memory? Partly because he was pretty stoned. “I was not completely myself,” Pacino recalled. “So everything was tolerable, you know? The nerves had calmed down. I was sitting there enjoying the show.”
About an hour into the proceedings, he turned to the man sitting next to him, which happened to be twenty-something Jeff Bridges, who was also nominated that night, for Michael Cimino’s buddy action-comedy Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, co-starring Clint Eastwood. Today Bridges is a poster-child for marijuana, thanks in part to his chill starring turn in The Big Lebowski. But in 1975 Pacino was the one who was a little zonked-out.
“I said to him, ‘I don’t think they’re going to get to the best actor category. It’s an hour and they didn’t get to that category,’” Pacino remembered. “He gave me a look to this day — I’ll never forget it — like, ‘Where do you come from, who are you?’ and said, ‘It’s three hours.’”
Pacino did not take that news well. “That collapsed me,” Pacino said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do for the next two hours?’”
That shocked Kimmel as well, who told him, “If you’re so high that Jeff Bridges has to tell you what’s going on… ”
So there you have it: Some 45 years ago Pacino was too high for Jeff Bridges. How times change.