Michael Keaton was at the French Culture Ministry in Paris on Monday to be made an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. The honor, given by the French government in recognition of significant contribution to the arts, was presented by Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin.
In a brief speech, Keaton said he was “grateful and honored for such a tribute. This is something about which as a boy I could never have imagined — and as a boy I had a big imagination. Yours is a culture that has such respect for beauty and art that if I made in a small way a contribution to that culture I’m honored, grateful and proud. This is one of the biggest days of my life.”
Keaton was also in town for the France press junket for Spotlight, which coincidentally took place in the same hotel as the the junket for The Revenant, directed by Keaton’s Birdman helmer Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
At the ceremony, Keaton was accompanied by members of the Boston Globe’s real-life Spotlight crew portrayed in the Oscar Best Picture-nominated movie, including his own character, Walter “Robby” Robinson, and Mike Rezendes, played by Mark Ruffalo (who scored a Supporting Actor nom for the role). Also in attendance were U.S Ambassador to France Jane Hartley and Warner Bros France’s Iris Knobloch.
Rezendes, who has traveled extensively with the film during awards season, told me on the sidelines he was thrilled by the Oscar nominations. “Six! — I was thinking three or four, but six?” he said, laughing.
Keaton said after the ceremony that he enjoys working in films like Spotlight which make a difference and touch people’s lives, also citing Clean And Sober and Live From Baghdad. That doesn’t mean he is eschewing comedies though. Asked if he would ever go back to straight comedies, he replied, “I miss it so much I can’t tell you.”