Veteran actor Hal Holbrook credits his own sailing adventures for his Oscar nomination - because they helped him understand his character in Into The Wild and real-life wilderness man CHRIS MCCANDLESS. Holbrook, 83, became the oldest male Oscar nominee when he was handed a Best Supporting Actor nod for his portrayal of kindly Ron Franz in the Sean Penn film. And he feels his own desperate high seas moments helped him understand the weight of the film, which deals with hiker MCCandless' tragic final months. Holbrook explains, "I've always been interested in adventures... I've sailed across the ocean several times, sailed down to New Zealand and back on a small boat with nothing but a sexton and a compass. "I had no long-distance radio; there was nobody who could come and help us. "I sailed alone over there once... I also tried to climb a mountain once by myself for four days. I was up there all alone. I knew about taking chances with nature... There's no forgiveness out there." Holbrook admits his own son briefly lived MCCandless' life many years ago, which helped fire up the emotional scenes between himself and Emile Hirsch in the film. He adds, "He quit college... and just took to the road. He did kind of a lot of the same thing that Chris MCCandless did. "When he came to visit me... sometimes he stayed outside, he wouldn't come in at night; he lived in the bushes by the freeway in a sleeping bag... He ended up as a psychiatrist."