Michael Keaton is having a damn fine run lately. His most recent film, Spotlight, marks the second Oscar winner for best picture he's been involved with in as many years. He didn't win any Oscars himself, but his portrayal of Riggan Thomson in 2014's Birdman earned him a best actor nomination, several way-less-important awards, and heaps of critical acclaim, after several years of being mostly out of the public eye.
Pretty much everyone who saw Birdman, or at least those who saw it and also have a basic knowledge of Michael Keaton's history, came away from it with one really obvious question: Was that movie about Michael Keaton?
You mean the movie about the guy who can't escape his superhero movie past? Why do you ask?
For those who have never seen it: The plot revolves around an actor who's trying to make a comeback after being best known for his role in a series of superhero movies. He walked away from the franchise that made him famous even though they wanted him to stay, a fact he's super proud of. Still, somewhere deep down, he sometimes believes he really is that superhero, even though the role sometimes seems like it haunts him more than anything.
Listen, that's Michael Keaton. That is absolutely Michael Keaton, and over the course of this article, I'll show you plenty of examples of just how true that is. However, when asked about the theory that he and Riggan Thomson are one in the same, Keaton dismissed the idea. So, that's the end of that theory, right? If Michael Keaton says he's not Birdman, then he must not be Birdman.