Zack Gottsagen's mum says Shia LaBeouf was not laughing at him at the Oscars

Ben Arnold
·3-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)

On Sunday night, Zack Gottsagen, star of the movie The Peanut Butter Falcon, became the first actor with Down's Syndrome to present an award at the Oscars.

Zack took to the stage with his friend and co-star Shia LaBeouf to announce the nominees and present the award for live-action short film.

Read more: Oscars highlights

But despite the pair being close friends, and having spent months together both shooting and later promoting the movie, some took to Twitter in the belief that LaBeouf was somehow mocking Gottsagen as he paused with his line 'And the Oscar goes to...'.

He wasn't, as anyone who's seen footage of them together would know, but still, the actor's mother Shelley Gottsagen has clarified that LaBeouf would never do such a thing, adding that they have 'beautiful' friendship.

“I would hate to see any misconception out there. I mean, you know, Shia is just wonderful, you know, we really love him. If anything, I think they were grinning because it was hard to get the envelope open,” she told the website TooFab.

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

“We just love Shia and the respect that Shia and Zack have for each other is beautiful. Their friendship is really, really beautiful. And, you know, it just, it upset me when I thought that somebody was thinking that Shia could have ever had a kind of negative attitude 'cause he's been nothing, nothing, nothing but supportive.”

In this Friday, Aug. 2, 2019 photo, Shia LaBeouf, left, and Zack Gottsagen, cast members in the film "The Peanut Butter Falcon," pose together for a portrait at the London West Hollywood, in West Hollywood, Calif. The movie opens in the U.S. on Aug. 9. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
Shia LaBeouf and Zack Gottsagen (Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

She went on: “They're very tight. They love each other, really encourage each other. Shia's been very supportive of Zack as an actor, his professionalism. He'll really seek out opportunities for Zack and did a lot with promoting the movie, you know, which, Shia always doesn't - that's not really his thing, but he did it for Zack.”

Shelley even said that it was a promise made by LaBeouf to Zack that signalled the start of the Honey Boy star's sobriety, after Zack pleaded with him ‘not to blow’ his big break.

“Shia promised Zack that he wouldn't drink anymore,” she said. “And he's never had since that day, which is really remarkable.”

LaBeouf was arrested while making the movie in Georgia in July, 2017, for public drunkenness and disorder, the footage of his arrest going viral.

He was sentenced to a period of probation and rehab, during which he wrote the acclaimed autobiographical movie Honey Boy.