The two-time Oscar-winning actor asked the audience: "Who gave this son of a b***h a green card?" before revealing "Birdman" had triumphed as best picture. The movie was directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who was also honored in that category.
Inarritu and Penn are friends, having worked together on "21 Grams." Inarritu later told reporters backstage that he found the joke "hilarious."