About 45 seconds on The Oscars 2020 stage was enough time for Shia LaBeouf to ignite the wrath of the film award show's viewers.
While announcing one of the big night's awards with Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zack Gottsagen, LaBeouf saw how his controversial, tabloid-past keeps the spotlight on his every move.
In the thick of the evening's award announcements, Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen took the stage to announce the winner in the "Best Short Film" category.
The two starred in 2019's The Peanut Butter Falcon, a film about a man with Down Syndrome who escapes from a mental care facility to pursue lofty dreams of becoming a pro-wrestler. In the film, Gottsagen, who has Down Syndrome, starred as the would-be wrestler alongside LaBeouf, a rough-around-the-edges supporter of the dream.
The film's context didn't prevent a brief moment during their award announcement from commanding focus on Twitter.
Legions of people jumped on LaBeouf for what they deemed his intolerant and distasteful behavior.
Ok Shia LeBoeuf is canceled— fuckyourjuul (@fuckyourjuul)1581299376.0
shia leboeuf laughed at that boy... on live TV.. yikes— Tianna (@Tianna)1581299382.0
Shia LeBoeuf really ran outtta patience for that boy way too quick #TheOscars— myles (@myles)1581299521.0
But the commentary actually turned out to be quite split.
Many rushed to LaBeouf's aid, reminding others of the friendship between the two stars.
Zack Gottsagen is a disabled adult actor, not a child! He costarred in a film with Shia LeBoeuf who ADVOCATED for h… https://t.co/Yuij433FUY— sunflower emoji (@sunflower emoji)1581346501.0
people trying to come at shia leboeuf - please go watch the peanut butter falcon and then rethink your judgment.— katrina (@katrina)1581299549.0
Some even turned the tables on the earlier criticisms.
They called attention to several people's decision to call Gottsagen a "kid" and "boy." Gottsagen is 34 years old, a year older than LaBeouf.
The infantilizing rubbed people the wrong way.
🤦♀️ Some folks on twitter are so thick I swear. That “kid with special needs” is called Zack Gottsagen, Shia LeBo… https://t.co/AUAQK1ujee— Lewis (@Lewis)1581343273.0
Those who took LaBeouf's side often cited some powerful words of gratitude that LaBeouf shared regarding his work—and friendship—with Gottsagen. In October 2019, while giving interviews to promote the film, LaBeouf and Gottsagen sat down with Britain's Channel 4.
In that interview, LaBeouf candidly shared his admiration of Gottsagen.
"I don't think anyone could have done what he did in that film. I don't think that if you brought Daniel Day Lewis in we wouldn't have had the same moments."
LaBeouf didn't hesitate to say that working with Gottsagen changed his life for the better.
That project came during a time of transition for 33 year old LaBeouf, who spent 2019 in mandated therapy following his arrest for "terrorizing a police officer."
Peanut Butter Falcon and his autobiographical film Honey Boy, which he wrote and starred in, were both fruits of that soul-searching period.
He told Ellen about it all back in November 2019.