Shia LaBeouf co-star Zack Gottsagen becomes first Oscar presenter with Down's Syndrome

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
Shia LaBeouf, left, and Zack Gottsagen present the award for best live action short film at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen present the award for best live action short film at the Oscars (Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Last night, Zack Gottsagen made history by becoming the first Oscar presenter with Down's Syndrome.

The star of The Peanut Butter Falcon, he took to the stage with his friend and co-star Shia LaBeouf to a standing ovation at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

Read more: Oscars highlights

The pair then introduced the nominations in the live-action short film category.

The 35-year-old actor read the 'And the Oscar goes to...' part, after which LaBeouf then misread the winner - he said 'The Neighbour's Widow', instead of 'The Neighbour's Window'.

Disability inclusion charity the Ruderman Family Foundation were among those congratulating Zack on his appearance at the biggest awards show in the movie calendar.

Read more: The full list of winners at the 2020 Oscars

There were plenty of others too.

He also pressed the flesh with movie icon Robert De Niro on the arrivals red carpet.

Released over the summer, the movie became something of a sleeper hit.

Zack Gottsagen, left, and Robert De Niro arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Zack Gottsagen, left, and Robert De Niro arrive at the Oscars (Credit Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

It found Gottsagen playing a young boy with Down's who lives in a retirement home in North Carolina, but dreams of becoming a wrestler.

He forges an unlikely friendship with LaBeouf's thief and fisherman Tyler, after stowing away on his boat, and together they plot a trip to a wrestling school in Florida.

Made on a tiny $6.2 million budget – an co-starring Dakota Johnson, Bruce Dern, Jon Bernthal and Thomas Haden Church – the movie made $22 million at the box office, making it one of the highest-grossing independent movies of the year.