BOSTON (CBS) – In a land where “V” stands for vapid much of the time, Hollywood was the scene of some honesty and sincerity recently. In case you missed the Golden Globes (I was guilty of doing just that) you might have heard the news that long-time movie actor Michael Keaton won the award for best actor for his work in “Birdman.” In the film he portrays a washed up film star coming to terms with show business and its dizzying effect on his life. It was a riveting performance by an actor who has consistently delivered solid performances in so many roles.
What made his acceptance speech stand out is what it wasn’t—silly, offensive or insincere. Instead Michael Keaton shared with us a little something about his life, loves and inspiration. The sheer simplicity of the message and the manner in which he spoke convinced me and many that this was the real deal.
“My name’s Michael John Douglas, I’m from Forest Grove, Pennsylvania. I’m the son — seventh child — of George and Leona Douglas. And I don’t ever remember a time when my father didn’t work two jobs. When my mother wasn’t saying the rosary or going to mass or trying to take care of seven kids in a rundown farmhouse, she was volunteering at the Ohio Valley Hospital where I was born in the hallway,” he told the audience while accepting his award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical.
“I’ve got six wonderful brothers and sisters. I have some tremendous, tremendously loving and generous friends all over the world. My best friend is kind, intelligent, funny, talented, considerate, and thoughtful — did I say kind? He also happens to be my son, Sean. I love you with all my heart, buddy.” At that point, Keaton got a little choked up. I dare say millions watching felt something special at the same time.
Thankfully, the camera panned to his son Sean who sat amidst the star-studded Hollywood elite. His eyes were fixed squarely on his Dad; there was genuine pride and love in both men’s faces. Not something easily faked; even in the land of make believe.
In a news cycle overflowing with violence, corruption, sadness and stalemate, a short acceptance speech by a tuxedo clad actor punched through the clutter. For that we can all be thankful.