One of the biggest surprises of last night’s Oscars wasn’t Parasite being named Best Picture or The Irishman getting shut out — it was Brad Pitt’s restrained acceptance speech. After winning Best Supporting Actor for his acid cigarette-smoking, Bruce Lee-fighting, wife-murdering (???) performance in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pitt reflected on his life and career, and outside of a quick jab at Senate Republicans, it was a joke-free speech. Where were the cracks about Margot Robbie’s feet and Tinder?
It was a far cry from his speeches at the BAFTAs and SAG Awards, where he called playing the “guy who gets high, takes his shirt off, and doesn’t get on with his wife” difficult. There was talk before the Oscars that Pitt hired a “ghost acceptance speech writer” to help him give off a “gracious-yet-deserving quality at the awards podium,” but during a red carpet interview, he claimed it was all him and his buddies.
According to Pitt, he’s written those speeches himself — mostly. However, on the red carpet before the Oscars ceremony, Pitt told Variety‘s Marc Malkin that he had some “very, very funny friends” helped him “with some laughs.” Those “funny friends” include to comedians like Jim Jefferies and Bob Oschack, and his Fight Club director David Fincher, to help him write his comedy.
Ah yes, when I think funny, I think of the guy who directed Zodiac. “My man Fincher,” Pitt added, “we trade barbs every week.” He’s not talking jokes — he’s talking about literal barbwire. Fincher demands a lot of his actors, and even more of his friends.