It's become common knowledge (or at least a common perception) that Sean Penn can be kind of a jerk. It all started back when he was punching out photographers calling him Mr. Madonna, and since then he's always had a contentious relationship with his own fame. I'm not saying he isn't a damn fine actor; he's just a terrible -- and I mean terrible -- celebrity. Last night at the 82nd Academy Awards, Penn delivered the award for best actress with a cryptic speech about not being a member of the Academy and overlooked actresses. Over at NY Magazine, they think they've figured out that Penn was referencing his soon to be ex-wife, Robin Wright, for being overlooked in both Penn's acceptance speech last year, and for her work in The Private Lives of Pippa Lee this year.

Now, this isn't the first time that Penn has gone off script at the presenters' podium, with the most famous instance being back in 2005 when Penn took personal offense at some of Chris Rock's jokes on behalf of Jude Law. Sure, it made for a good Oscar clip the morning after, but I can't be the only one who thought that it was proof positive that Penn needs to lighten up a little. The man was Spicoli for god sakes, he does remember what the word comedy means, right? Granted, there was a brief shining moment when I thought that maybe Mr. Penn had finally located his sense of humor when he appeared on The Colbert Report for a Meta-Free-Phor-All. But I guess that was wishful thinking, because after Penn's performance last night, the comedy credit will have to go to Mr. Colbert.

After the jump: so who needs him, anyway?...
The funny thing is I actually enjoy Penn as an actor. I've seen almost all of his films (OK, I only made it about 1/4 way through I am Sam) and I respect the work he does. I just wish he would stop with the public appearances, because he clearly doesn't enjoy doing them, and it's not like he's bringing anything to the proceedings...other than an attitude. So rather than fulfill his contractual obligation and make a general mess of things, how about next year, Sean just sits this one out (even if he's nominated)? because you can't help but wonder why he would to continue to turn up to these things with nothing but contempt. And if all he's going to do is act like he'd rather be sitting in a tub of barbwire and salt (now there's an Oscar sketch for 2011!) -- I don't know why he would bother in the first place, do you?

Have you noticed that Sean Penn is a real miserable downer in public, or does it not bother you in the slightest?