Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu Thought Sean Penn's Green Card Joke Was "Hilarious"

“Sean and I had that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive," director of Oscar-winning movie explains

By Rebecca Macatee Feb 23, 2015 2:37 PMTags
Sean Penn, Alejandro G. InarrituJason Merritt/Getty Images

When Sean Penn announced Birdman as Best Picture at the 2015 Oscars, he joked of the film's Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Who gave this son of a bitch a green card?"

Not everyone was laughing at this politically incorrect quip, but González Iñárritu, who directed Penn in 21 Grams, told Variety he personally "found it hilarious."

"Sean and I had that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive," he explained. "When I was directing him in 21 Grams, he was always making jokes...I made a lot of very tough jokes (to him) that I will not tell you."

"I didn't find it offensive," Iñárritu clarified. "I thought it was very funny."

At the end of his acceptance speech, González Iñárritu said, "I want to take one second...I just want to take the opportunity...II want to dedicate this award for my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico. I pray that we can find and build government that we deserve. And the ones that live in this country who are part of the latest generation of immigrants in this country, I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and build this incredible immigrant nation. Thank you very much."

During the 51-year-old director's Best Director acceptance speech, he claimed he was wearing Birdman star Michael Keaton's underwear for good luck, saying, "They are tight, smell like balls, but it worked. I'm here. Thank you, Michael!"

He later confirmed to Variety he really, truly was wearing the best actor nominee's tighty-whities, saying, "I wish I was in a more intimate setting to prove it."

Clearly, Mr. González Iñárritu has quite the sense of humor!