Both separately and as a couple that exists only in the imaginations of fans and the fictional ramblings of some of the most unreliable tabloids, it's been quite an award season for Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
Pitt has already received a Golden Globe and a Screen Actor's Guild Award for his stellar work in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time...In Hollywood, and he's the odds-on favorite to take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Aniston, meanwhile, has racked up numerous nominations and a SAG prize for her Apple TV series, The Morning Show.
Of course, for their adoring public, Brad and Jen's accolades are a mere afterthought.
For Pitt-Aniston shippers -- a very vocal group in some corners of social media -- the big story of the past few weeks has been the subtle indications that the actors are back on friendly terms following a messy divorce and many years of estrangement.
First, there was the sight of Jen looking on appreciatively during Brad's Golden Globes acceptance speech.
(This was reported in the press as Aniston "gazing" at her ex "in adoration.")
Then came the SAG Awards, at which Pitt and Aniston were photographed backstage together.
Granted, this latest "evidence" that Brad and Jen are more than friends is more compelling than anything we'd seen up to that point -- especially the photo of Brad clasping Jen's hand -- but it still sounds as though these two are just exes who have formed a casual friendship in the 15 years since their separation.
“Jen was happy for Brad,” a source tells People of the actors' interaction at the SAG ceremony.
“They congratulated each other and that was it.”
The source adds, “It was an emotional night. [Jen] is not dating Brad.”
In case of any lingering conclusion, the insider went on:
“They are friends and happy for each other. They want nothing but happiness for each other.
"She is happy to have Brad back in her life as a friend, but that’s it.”
Sounds like a pretty definitive refutation to all that speculation -- but you can bet the rumor mill will keep right on churning.
Why? Well, for one it's impossible to overstate the hold that the Jen-Brad-Angie entanglement had on the public's imagination back when it first unfolded.
Whether it was fair or not, the narrative usually went something like this:
Despite the fact that he had been in he industry for over a decade by the time they met, and she was born into a Hollywood dynasty, Brad and Jen were a couple of regular folks who happened to be rich, famous, and gorgeous.
Jolie, on the other hand, was the weirdo goth beauty who made out with her brother on the red carpet and wore a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood around her neck.
They met on set, Jolie seduced the world's most lusted-after man, and the rest is history.
Is this an accurate account of the situation?
Almost certainly not, but tabloid writers of the early 2000s were basically in the business of penning serial soap operas that appeared in weekly installments in your grocery store checkout line.
The saga of the Jen-Brangelina love triangle was red meat for a gossip press looking to move copies at a time when each week seemed to bring a new indication that print media was in its dying days.
Of course, the marriage flamed out as spectacularly as the magazine industry, when, in 2016, Jolie filed for divorce from Pitt after two years of marriage and more than a decade together.
Unlike the Brad and Jen split, there was nothing intriguing or sexy about this one.
Pitt got into some sort of altercation with his teenage son Maddox aboard a private jet, and whatever happened, it was so repugnant to Jolie that she took steps to pull the plug on her marriage the following day.
It was a messy situation, and one that likely dredged up painful memories for many survivors of broken homes.
It's the kind of story that brings A-list stars crashing down to Earth -- a far cry from the soap opera glitz of Brad's first divorce.
For many millennials, Jen vs. Brangelina was their first taste of celebrity scandal, and it wasn't uncommon to choose a side and declare your loyalty to friends.
As the cliche goes, it was a simpler time, and gossip from that era focused on attractive actors and musicians, a far cry from today, when the focus has shifted to reality stars, politicians, and reality star politicians.
While we're sure the split was painful for both parties and for Jen in particular, many saw the unfolding narrative as a form of harmless escapism -- the sort of distraction that many are no doubt clamoring for in these times of near-constant turmoil.
If Brad and Jen get back together, then those who obsessively followed the drama of their split get to both bask in nostalgia and absolve themselves of any lingering guilt from the schadenfreude they may have felt back in '05.
Some have likened fans of the actors to children of divorced parents hoping for an unlikely reconciliation.
That may be a bit of an overstatement, but it seems that for many, the emotional investment in this A-list couple from a bygone era is as strong as ever.