In what has (sadly) become the most memorable moment from last night's 87th Annual Academy Awards, actor Sean Penn joked about Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu's "green card" before presenting him with the award for Best Picture.
"Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?" he remarked, before calling the cast and crew of Birdman to the stage to accept the biggest award of the night.
However, it appears that the Mexican director didn't find the quip as tactless as the rest of the world did. "I found it hilarious," Iñárritu said after the ceremony. "Sean and I have that kind of brutal [relationship] where only true friendship can survive."
"I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you," he continued.
However, despite Iñárritu's dismissal of the comment, many found the "joke" extremely offensive, especially given the recent backlash over minority representation at the Oscars.
— Derrick Clifton (@DerrickClifton) February 23, 2015
Joke or not #SeanPenn 's Green card comment was out of line.
— Silvia (@ssalga1) February 23, 2015
— Ned Petrie (@NedPetrie) February 23, 2015
— Anthony Imperioli (@mindofchester) February 23, 2015
While many agree that Penn did intend the comment as a "joke," most also contend that such a joke would never even be considered for the countless other non-Americans in Hollywood: including Brits Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch and Penn's girlfriend, South African actress Charlize Theron.
"Who gave this guy a green card?" Sean Penn talking about a Mexican dude to a room full of British & Australian people...
— Mario Lopez (@MarioLopezExtra) February 23, 2015
Iñárritu handled Penn's comment with absolute grace. He used the acceptance speech to draw attention to several important issues in the Latino community, including government corruption in Mexico and immigrants in the United States. Read his full speech here.
What are your thoughts on Sean Penn's controversial green card joke?