‘Birdman’ Oscar Winner Alejandro Inarritu on Sean Penn’s Controversial Green Card Joke: ‘I Found It Hilarious’

Director recalls exchanging “very tough” jokes with his “21 Grams” star

Sean Penn raised eyebrows and immediately topped social media trending topics when he made a joke about “Birdman” director Alejandro Inarritu’s immigration status while presenting the Best Picture Oscar on Sunday night.

Before announcing “Birdman” as the winner of the top prize of the night, Penn quipped: “Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?”

The joke, directed at Inarritu’s Mexican nationality, did not go over well with many viewers.

For the director’s part, he laughed it off backstage after his multiple wins for Best Original Screenplay, Best Director and Best Picture.

“I found it hilarious,” he said of Penn’s controversial joke. “Sean and I have that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive… When a friend of that caliber tells you, you know, when I was directing him in ’21 Grams,’ he was always making jokes like that and I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you. But anyway, we have that kind of relation of old friendship. I didn’t find him offensive. I think it was very funny, in my personal view.”

Inarritu also gave possibly the line of the night when asked about the risky venture of making a movie like “Birdman.”

“Fear is the condom of life,” he said. “It doesn’t allow you to enjoy things…So I did it without and this is the result. It was real. It was making love for sure.”