Sean Penn's green card joke was one of the more controversial jokes at the Oscars 2015 though it could be argued it kicked some life into a ceremony that was otherwise something of a snoozefest under the stewardship of Neil Patrick Harris. 

BirdmanMichael Keaton played the lead in the Oscar-winning movie Birdman

When presenting the Best Picture Oscars to Alejandro Gonzelez Inarritu, Penn said: "Who gave this son of a bitch his green card?"

The pair are known to be good friends though the quip blew up on Twitter.

Writer Roxane Gay tweeted, "Did .. that green card joke really happen?" and had her tweet favorited 337 times in under six minutes.

"Hey, Spiccoli, next time you want to make a green card joke, how about you give a latino a chance to joke about your domestic abuse charges?" another poster wrote.

More: Make no mistake, Birdman could blitz the Oscars in 2015

"I found it hilarious," Iñárritu said backstage. "You know, Sean and I have that kind of brutal relation where only true friendship can survive."

"When I was directing him in '21 Grams,' he was always making jokes about that, and I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you. Anyway, we have that kind of relation, of old friendship. I didn't find it offensive. I think it was very funny, in my personal view."

More: Venice Film Festival: So, Birdman just joined the Oscars race. Big time. 

Penn has been rumored to be playing the lead in Inarritu's as-yet-unmade film Red Flag, where he would play "a real-life bank robber, arsonist, fraudster, addict, and counterfeiter of more than $20 million."

Birdman won best picture at the Oscars, with Inarritu winning best director. 

Watch the Birdman trailer: