"It was a moment of two accomplished people at the top of their game... and genuinely seeming happy to see one another," says photographer Emma McIntyre

By Gillian Telling
January 21, 2020 02:54 PM
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When Brad Pitt, 56, congratulated his ex-wife Jennifer Aniston, 50, for her best actress win at the SAG Awards on Sunday, Emma McIntyre, a Getty Images staff photographer, was there to capture the moment that immediately captured hearts — and blew up the Internet.

“This was my fourth year shooting in this backstage position,” says McIntyre. “The moments are really joyful and there are often encounters between winners in this area. I try and capture as many of these celebratory moments as I can.” She adds, “It’s always fun to capture spontaneous run-ins between actors.”

Of course, McIntyre had no idea she was going to catch the special interaction between Pitt and Aniston until it was announced that Aniston had won in her category for The Morning Show, not long after Pitt also won best supporting actor for his role in Once Up a Time… in Hollywood.

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston backstage at the 2020 SAG Awards
| Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty

“[They were both backstage] doing the circuit of awards press,” says McIntyre. “Jennifer had just signed some posters for SAG and was about to walk the press line. I was running back and forth between the two backstage areas and had just taken some photos of Jennifer. I was about to leave when I saw Brad coming down the hallway and sensed there would be a photo-worthy moment.”

She was right.

“He called out ‘Aniston!’ and she turned around and they embraced and congratulated each other,” says McIntyre. “It was a moment of two accomplished people at the top of their game, acknowledging each other’s successes and genuinely seeming happy to see one another.”

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston backstage at the 2020 SAG Awards
| Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty

She adds, “The moment was really touching and you could sense the respect between two people who have known each other 20+ years and are both outstanding in their field.”

Situations like the one she managed to capture are few and far between. “Candid moments can be really hit or miss,” she admits. “Often there’s a cellphone in front of your lens or someone’s hair is covering their face, so when you’re able to capture two people in a flattering way it feels like a triumph.”

McIntyre says there were two other photographers present who were shooting the winners as well, but she simply had an advantageous position this time.

“I positioned myself to the side of where Brad and Jennifer were standing, so their reaction was more angled to me meaning I could capture their interaction and expressions,” she says.

It wasn’t the only highlight of her night, either.

“[I also] captured the pure joy of the cast of Parasite for winning best ensemble cast and a happy congratulatory moment between Renée Zellweger and Joaquin Phoenix.”