Michael Keaton Says He Had A ‘Built-In Audience’ As The Youngest Of Seven Kids

Michael Keaton 'Birdman'

Michael Keaton should have a good time on Oscar night, whether or not he brings home the award for Best Actor. Keaton’s nod for his starring turn in Birdman is his first-ever Academy Award nomination. As he told Ellen on Thursday, he appreciates its significance.

“The nomination means a lot to me, I think more than I thought it would. Maybe more than anything it’s how unbelievably great people have been. And I don’t mean just the people who are inside the business, but even my friends and everybody who is so happy for me. In a way I feel a lot of pressure for them, I want to come through for them.”

He said it also makes up for the many years of work he’s put into his acting career.

“It means a lot to me personally I think because all these years ya know, trying a lot of things and hanging in there. You know what that’s like, you have to do it. You have to ride out all the tough stuff and keep on keeping on.”

Keaton faces stiff competition in the Best Actor category from Eddie Redmayne, who is nominated for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Redmayne took home the Best Actor — Drama award at the Golden Globes while Keaton nabbed Best Actor — Comedy or Musical. At the Oscars, there is only one Best Actor category.

When he picked up his Golden Globe, Keaton gave a heartfelt acceptance speech and acknowledged a special person in his life: his son, Sean.

In a new interview with NPR, Keaton revealed how his childhood influenced his performance career. Michael is one of nine children, although two of his siblings died as infants. He said his large family and Catholic upbringing eliminated the possibility for any kind of narcissism. Being one of several brothers had many rewards and challenges, including physical affection and altercations.

“It was kind of great. Built-in audience, you know? A lot of love, people kissing you and playing with you, beating you up all the time, wrestling with you — there was always wrestling. We had four guys in the family, so somebody was always hitting somebody or chasing somebody or getting mad or fighting or wrestling — that was just what you did. So when you’re the youngest, it’s good for you. You figure out real early how to get out of headlocks and holds.”

If Keaton needs any extra luck on Oscar night, he may have received it from Ellen. The talk-show host presented him with a custom-made pair of tighty-whiteys, which he proudly sported on stage over his suit, as well as a golden pair. He joked over potential red-carpet questions about who he’s wearing while complementing the shimmering undergarments.

“These babies will look good.”

[Michael Keaton image: Getty]