ZACH GOTTSAGEN BECOMES FIRST OSCAR PRESENTER WITH DOWN SYNDROME
(KGTV)– For “The Peanut Butter Falcon” star Zack Gottsagen, his first time on the Academy Awards stage was a first-ever for the Oscars.
Zach Gottsagen became the first Oscars presenter with Down syndrome Sunday night. He received a standing ovation from the nominees and many of those in attendance.
Gottsagen presented the award next to his co-star Shia LaBeouf. He presented the award in his big “Oscar goes to” line for the winner of the live-action short film category, “The Neighbor’s Window.”
Gottsagen and LaBeouf star alongside Bruce Dern and Dakota
Johnson, as Gottsagen’s character chases his dream of being a professional
wrestler in a journey that resembles Huckleberry Finn. Since starring together
in the Peanut Butter Falcon, Labeouf has given credit to Gottsagen with helping
him through a tough personal battle in 2017.
“He knows about my pain intimately. We’d be sitting there watching wrestling every night. He’d be eating ice cream. I’d be drinking gin. I’d tell him, ‘You gotta stop eating all that ice cream.’ He’d say, ‘You gotta stop drinking that gin,’” LaBeouf told the Associated Press. “This man’s a year older than me. He’s been acting longer than me and he’s healthier than I am. He has more friends than I have, has longer lasting loving relationships.”
LeBeouf told the AP he and Gottsagen have stayed in regular contact.
“I was doing things for Shia because I just don’t like to see old Shia act like this. I wanted to see the new Shia that I know,” Gottsagen said to the AP. “I have respect for other stars in films and I want Shia to be nice with them, except for those stars who don’t care about Shia. That would be their loss. I don’t care about what they do, but I care about Shia a lot more. Shia can do anything.”