Brad Pitt "thrilled" by Oscar nominations

TOKYO (Reuters) - Hollywood actor Brad Pitt said on Wednesday he was thrilled by the raft of Academy Award nominations for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which include his own first nomination for the best actor award.

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Pitt was in Tokyo with his partner Angelina Jolie and their six children for the Japan premier of the film, which leads this year’s field with 13 Oscar nominations, one short of the record shared by “All About Eve” (195O) and “Titanic” (1997).

“So we’re thrilled to see it, to see it acknowledged that way,” Pitt told a news conference in Tokyo.

“For us you know, it means that more people get to see it and I think it’s a worthy film that deserves that kind of viewing -- over and over again. Go see it three times and see it again,” he added.

Pitt, 45, faces a tough race for the best actor award, to be announced on February 22, with Sean Penn and Mickey Rourke seen as the favorites for their respective roles as a gay rights activist in “Milk” and an aging professional fighter in “The Wrestler.”

“Benjamin Button” tracks the love story between the title character, played by Pitt, and Daisy, played by Cate Blanchett, and the joy and pain they face as one gets younger and the other older.

Pitt, said his current life was as dramatic as the life of the fictional Button, who was born in his eighties and aged backwards.

“Well, I think it’s well documented. I have six children now so it doesn’t get more dramatic than that,” said Pitt.

In July 2008, Jolie gave birth in France to twins, a girl named Vivienne Marcheline and a boy named Knox Leon.

In addition to the twins, Jolie and Pitt are parents to four other young children -- adoptees Maddox, Pax and Zahara, and their first biological daughter, Shiloh. Japanese television showed the entire family arriving at the airport in Tokyo, greeted by screaming fans.

“Benjamin Button,” loosely based on a 1920s short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, has been floating around Hollywood for decades. The film’s producers, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, took over the project about 18 years ago, but struggled with the central issue -- how to depict its star being born as an old man and eventually dying as a baby.

Technical wizardry allowed the producers and director David Fincher to use Pitt throughout rather than multiple actors.

Despite the flow of Oscar nominations, “Benjamin Button” has had a rough ride so far this awards season, having been ignored by both the Critics Choice Awards and the Golden Globes, two Oscar bellwethers.

Reporting by Chika Osaka; Writing by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by David Fox