Brad Pitt received the Best Supporting Actor award from the National Board of Review Wednesday night, and Bradley Cooper was on hand to present him with the trophy. (Other pairings: Salma Hayek feting Renée Zellweger, Bruce Springsteen praising Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, and local Uncut Gems stan Timothée Chalamet showing up for the Safdie brothers.) “I asked his friends what are some words to describe him,” Cooper told the audience in his introduction. “It was integrity and it was his soul. Those things, combined with a curiosity to grow and an unparalleled work ethic, that’s a filmmaker’s dream. Because when you take those things to embody a character, you can get moments that could just crystallize an entire essence of a film, like the way a character rests his hand on the steering wheel of a car like Cliff Booth does in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It’s just so in tune, and it’s effortless, because he just is. That’s just something that we all strive to do and he’s been doing it for 29 years, since Thelma and Louise. And if may not sound too crazy, I’d say even since his two-episode arc on Growing Pains in 1987.”
Accepting the trophy, Pitt’s speech was short but he did reveal how close he is to the Star is Born director: “Thank you, Bradley. Bradley just put his daughter to bed and then rushed over to do this,” he said. “I got sober because of this guy. And every day’s been happier ever since.” Pitt first spoke about his sobriety to GQ Style in May 2017 and recently told the New York Times that he spent a year and a half in recovery with AA following his divorce. The 45-year-old Cooper has been sober himself since he was 29.