Shia LaBeouf Criticized For Impatience With Co-Star At 2020 Oscars

At last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, Shia LaBeouf presented the award for Best Live Action Short Film with Zack Gottsagen, his co-star from his 2019 film, The Peanut Butter Falcon.

Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen at the 92nd Academy Awards
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen at the 92nd Academy Awards | CRAIG SJODIN via Getty Images

Gottsagen made history at the ceremony last night, becoming the first person with Down syndrome to present at the awards ceremony.

Today, some are criticizing LaBeouf for his behavior during the award presentation.

Here’s what happened and the criticism some were leveling at LaBeouf last night.

Who is Zack Gottsagen?

Zack Gottsagen co-starred with LaBeouf in last year’s The Peanut Butter Falcon, a film about a man who has Down syndrome who runs away from a residential home to try to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, but in the process becomes friends with a criminal who becomes his coach and biggest supporter.

Gottsagen and LaBeouf have remained friends, so much so, that the 33-year-old actor invited Gottsagen to last night’s ceremony.

Gottsagen¬†told the Associated Press¬†last year about his film appearance with LaBeouf, “It means some people believe in me … (and) a lot of people love my talent.”

What happened during the Oscars show

The two actors began their presentation of the Best Live Action Short Film, taking turns in speaking. At some points, as anyone might, standing in a room with so many eyes and cameras on them, Gottsagen faltered in saying his part and in getting the Oscar envelope open. Even LaBeouf may have been a bit nervous, when he incorrectly announced the winner of the award as The Neighbor’s Widow, instead of Window.

Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen | Kevin Winter/Getty Images

LaBeouf to some viewers seemed to be getting tense and rushing Gottsagen along, most likely because he himself was being rushed to keep things moving. At some points, LaBeouf was chuckling and looking away, which some said made him appear to be laughing at his 34-year-old costar.

Twitter’s response during the awards show

Twitter had no patience for LaBeouf’s apparent lack of patience with Gottsagen.

“Why is #ShiaLaBeouf being a d*** right now and acting like he has no patience for the kid,” tweeted one viewer.

Another was incredulous at what they saw as LaBeouf’s insensitivity, saying “You’re on a national stage and you look annoyed at your co-presenter!?! You’re an actor #ShiaLaBeouf at least act like a decent human being. #Oscars”

(L-R) Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen
(L-R) Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

But many others on Twitter were supportive of the Even Stevens star, who has credited Gottsagen with helping him stay sober, and the support they felt the actor was demonstrating towards his friend.

“Shia Labeouf did nothing wrong. He treated his friend like a real human. I saw compassion, not annoyance. Twitter is ridiculous to shame him for that,” said one tweet defending the Emmy-winning actor.

Shia LaBeouf (R) and Zack Gottsagen
Shia LaBeouf (R) and Zack Gottsagen | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Similarly, another tweet stood up for LaBeouf, “Shia was clearly trying to help his best friend who was nervous. You could hear him whispering to him while tapping so he new he had to speak. He then helped him by showing him where to open the envelope and whispered right there. HE WAS NOT BEING RUDE #Oscars”

LaBeouf hasn’t yet had anything to say about viewers’ perceptions of his body language on stage. However, it speaks volumes of his friendship with Gottsagen that LaBeouf extended the Oscars invitation to his fellow actor in the first place.