The Sweet Story Behind Shia LaBeouf’s Oscars Date

Shia LaBeouf's career has been on the up and up since his recent return to Hollywood. In 2019, he starred in two powerful films, The Peanut Butter Falcon and Honey Boy, reminding the world that he's a filmic force to be reckoned with. Today, the actor is walking the red carpet at the 2020 Oscars (and will be among the elite group presenting later in the evening), and LaBeouf has a very special date with him to make the night even more meaningful.
LaBeouf invited his The Peanut Butter Falcon co-star Zack Gottsagen to join him at the Oscars, marking Gottsagen's first time at the star-studded event. In the dramedy, the 35-year-old actor plays Zak, a young man with Down Syndrome who lives in a North Carolina retirement home and dreams of becoming a professional wrestler. When Zak travels south to attend the wrestling school of his icon, he stumbles across gruff but kind-hearted Tyler (LaBeouf), and the two embark on a heartwarming journey that changes their lives forever.
The film was inspired, in part, by Gottsagen's real-life aspirations of making a name for himself in Hollywood as an actor. Co-directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz, who met Gottsagen at a summer camp for people with disabilities, penned the script after being inspired by his story. The Peanut Butter Falcon is their take on the classic story The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn — except in their modern retelling, Huck just wants to be the next big thing in wrestling.
As a personal fan of LaBeouf's days on the Disney Channel (who didn't love Louis Stevens and his wild family?), Gottsagen was thrilled to be working with him. "That show always made me laugh so much," he told Variety. "I was just so happy just to meet him.”
Their friendship has extended long after the movie wrapped, hence LaBeouf inviting Gottsagen to his very first Oscars and even presenting the category of Best Live Action Short Film with him onstage. But with a performance as moving as what we saw in The Peanut Butter Falcon, this definitely won't be Gottsagen's last time at the show.

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