There are certainly some celebrities that seem universally beloved. In the last year we’ve seen the re-emergence of Keanu Reeves and Adam Sandler, the latter of which many believed was snubbed by the Academy Awards for Best Actor for “Uncut Gems.”
One of the reasons why they are widely beloved is because you never hear them talk about politics. Some actors are smart enough to keep their mouths shut so as not to alienate their fans.
But that’s what happened by a different celebrity at the Oscars with this unexpected speech.
The annual Academy Awards occurred over the last weekend and it was a star-studded affair featuring actors and actresses like Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, Renee Zellweger, Charlize Theron and many, many more. It was probably the most star power the Academy has seen in decades.
Of course, the voters chose the South Korean anti-Capitalism film “Parasite” for all the major awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.
The first award of the night is always Best Supporting Actor and maybe the biggest guarantee of the night was that Brad Pitt would win for his role as stuntman Cliff Booth in “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.”
But what was absolutely surprising was how Pitt got political in a hurry.
He immediately took the stage and got political by taking a jab at senators who voted against Democrats’ requests to call new witnesses in the impeachment trial, specifically former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who claimed he was willing to testify.
Pitt said he only had 45-seconds for his acceptance speech and that it was “They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week. I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.”
No new witnesses were called in Trump’s impeachment trial, for which he was acquitted by the Senate in a vote across party lines, with the exception of Sen. Mitt Romney who has always had a disdain for President Trump (unless he was vying for the Secretary of State position).
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 10, 2020
Backstage the actor explained why he got political with his acceptance speech.
He told the reporters, “I was really disappointed with this week. And I think when gamesmanship Trump’s doing the right thing, it’s a sad day and I don’t think we should let it slide, and I’m very serious about that.”
Brad Pitt backstage at the #Oscars talking about what prompted the political reference in his speech: “I was really disappointed with this week…I don’t think we should let it slide. I’m very serious about that.” pic.twitter.com/OlQA2cLQCC
— IndieWire (@IndieWire) February 10, 2020
The reason why this was so shocking and became a news story at all is because Pitt has never spoken publicly about politics. And he used his Oscars acceptance speech to finally do that? Why then? He’s been accepting honors for his role at every major awards ceremony. His other speeches were light and breezy and filled with some surprisingly good jokes.
Pitt wasn’t the only one who got political either. Joaquin Phoenix, who won the Best Actor category for his role in “Joker,” was over-the-top as per usual.
Phoenix said, “I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against the belief, one nation, one race, one gender, or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity. We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow,” Phoenix continued. “And when she gives birth, we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable and then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”
Outside of Pitt and Phoenix, the other winners and hosts didn’t bring up politics. That may have been the most shocking part of this year’s Academy Awards.