After four different acting nominations spread across nearly three decades, Brad Pitt finally won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this past weekend for his role as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. Pitt had been tearing up the awards circuit prior to that, winning Supporting Actor awards at the BAFTAs, the SAG awards, and the Golden Globes, among others. Pitt peppered his various acceptance speeches with quips that got a lot of media attention, and at the Oscars on Sunday he wanted to give credit where credit was due.
As reported by Variety, Pitt said that while he wrote the acceptance speeches himself, he had some “very, very funny” friends help him punch up his thank-yous with “some laughs.” Those friends include comedian Jim Jefferies and Real Time with Bill Maher writer Bob Oschack, which totally checks out. If you want to toss some one-liners into your speech, it makes sense to go to your comedy friends for help. But the real head scratcher Pitt credited with helping him come up with jokes was Oscar-winning director David Fincher. You know, the guy who made Se7en.
“My man Fincher, we trade barbs every week,” Pitt said of the filmmaker, who has directed him in three films including Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for which Pitt was nominated for his first Best Actor Oscar. And while Fincher has spent decades building a reputation for being a relentlessly meticulous artist typically working with dark subject matter, it’s easy to forget that Fight Club is pretty damn funny.
The barbs that made their way into Pitt’s speeches are pretty safe late night monologue stuff, like telling his Once Upon a Time costar Leonardo DiCaprio “I would’ve shared the raft”, a reference to DiCaprio’s fate in Titanic that the internet has been howling about pretty much since the beginning of the internet. He also included a Brexit joke in his acceptance speech at the BAFTAs, cracking, “Hey Britain, heard you just became single — welcome to the club.” (That speech was read by Pitt’s other Once Upon a Time costar, Margot Robbie, which no doubt added to its charm.) One might even argue that they stray into the territory of Dad Jokes. But they’re fun gags, and it’s nice that Pitt didn’t want to take credit for his buddies’ work, unlike his character in Twelve Monkeys.
For more on the Oscars, check out our list of the Best and Worst Oscar Moments.