“Oh My God! That’s my girl! She did it! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah,” said the 23-year-old, who has Down syndrome, while jumping up and down, clapping and pumping his fists in the air.
“She got it! I love you Jennifer!”
Seeing his childhood friend win an Oscar was a moment he’d been waiting on for weeks. That’s because he says he and the actress are “like best friends” and he’s her “No. 1 fan.”
Earlier Sunday evening, just before 7 p.m., Strunk slipped on a black tuxedo, an outfit he’d been planning for weeks. He wanted to be dressed to the nines, just as if he was attending the Oscars himself, while he watched Lawrence walk the red carpet during the celebrity arrivals.
“She looks perfect,” he said about her blush Dior gown.
Then, at 8:30, as the awards show was kicking off, Strunk planted himself on a leather couch and kept his eyes fixated on the television. He didn’t want to miss seeing the “Silver Linings Playbook” star in the audience.
When the camera panned to the crowed and showed the actress sitting in her seat, he clapped and shouted: “Woo! That’s her!”
Strunk’s black-tie outfit wasn’t the only special thing he had planned for Sunday night while cheering on the hometown actress.
He and his mother, Pollyanna Strunk, baked a white cake topped with buttercream frosting, which Strunk dubbed the “celebration cake.” In honor of “Silver Linings Playbook,” they embellished it with silver sprinkles.
Lawrence’s aunt, Cindy Miller of Louisville, stopped by the Strunk home on Saturday afternoon and dropped off a “Silver Linings Playbook” poster autographed by the actress.
Strunk says he’ll be hanging it in his bedroom with the other Lawrence memorabilia he has collected over the years, including movie posters and hundreds of newspaper clippings and magazine articles.
Lawrence has autographed many pictures for her childhood friend with special messages like “Don’t Forget About Me” and “With All My Love.”
“Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite… She’s a nice person. She’s a strong person,” Strunk said.
He capped off the evening by eating a piece of the cake he helped bake and sending a text message to Jennifer’s mother, Karen Lawrence.
“It’s the best night of my life,” Strunk said. “(Jennifer) I’m still your No. 1 fan.”
By Christa Ritchie for Courrier Journal