Pitt traveled some 100 miles east of Los Angeles to the desert town of Palm Springs, California, to introduce actor David Oyelowo, an honoree at the gala whose profile is only now on the rise stateside.
Pitt is a producer of director Ava DuVernay's historical epic Selma, in which British actor Oyelowo portrays civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The festival honored Oyelowo with its Breakthrough Performance Award for an actor.
In his introduction, Pitt professed his admiration for Oyelowo -- both as colleague and friend -- and, at one point, Pitt led the audience in a sing-along with lyrics spinning around Oyelowo's often-mispronounced last name. (It sounds like "oh-yellow-oh," by the way).
The gala, which attracts numerous locally-based Academy voters who now have ballots in hand, traditionally is the first of each calendar year's award-season ceremonies, which include approximately two dozen events significant enough to attract major movie stars between now and the Oscars, set for Feb. 22 in Hollywood.
Watch the sing-along here: