PARIS– After winning a string of awards for his perf in the Oscar-nommed “Spotlight,” Michael Keaton received one of France’s highest honors, becoming Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters during a Paris ceremony hosted by Culture Minister Fleur Pellerin.
The honor, which has previously been given to Jim Jarmusch, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, highlighted Keaton’s career achievements. Keaton’s latest film, Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” has been nominated for six Oscars. The movie won yesterday the Los Angeles Critics’ Choice Award for outstanding film of 2015.
“Yours is a culture that has such respect for beauty and art that if I even in the smallest way made a tiny contribution to beauty or art in this culture, or in any culture of the world for that matter, I’m honored and grateful and proud. This is one of the biggest days of my life,” said Keaton on stage.
Speaking of his role in “Spotlight,” Keaton said “I’m blessed with this is unbelievable good fortune to do something that can change people’s lives and make a difference. (…) I demonstrated against the war when I was in college, I’ve always been ecology-minded, my generation is one that fought for women’s rights and equal rights for minorities and I’m part of that world. And now I get to do this for a living.”
During her speech, Pellerin praised Keaton’s work with Oscar-winning helmers such as Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, Ron Howard and Alejandro Gonzalès, who directed him in “Birdman.” “I wanted to honor you because you are indefinable and that’s the trademark of immense artists,” said Pellerin.
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The intimate ceremony took place at France’s culture ministry and was attended by Boston Globe’s real-life Spotlight members including Walter Robinson and Mike Rezendes, as well as Iris Knobloch, Warner Bros. France’s boss, and Emmanuel Durand, senior VP of marketing.
The Order of Arts and Letters was created in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to the arts in France and throughout the world.
Warner Bros. will release “Spotlight” on Jan. 27.