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Actor Brendan Fraser has had a “Brenaissance” during the 2023 Hollywood awards season, culminating in perhaps the most prestigious win an actor can have. Fraser won Best Actor at the 95th Academy Awards for his role as Charlie in The Whale. The actor, who first gained fame in the 90s as a heartthrob in films including George of the Jungle and The Mummy, appeared shocked as he was announced as the winner. He gave an emotional speech replete with nautical references and gratitude for those involved in the movie.
“So this is what the multiverse looks like!” Fraser exclaimed as he got on stage. The comment was in reference to the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which would go on to win Best Picture (in addition to Michelle Yeoh for Best Actress, Ke Huy Quan for Best Supporting Actor, and Jamie Lee Curtis for Best Supporting Actress).
He then continued to thank the cast and crew of The Whale as well as his family. “I’m grateful to Darren Aronofsky [the director] for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale,” Fraser said. “That was written by Samuel D. Hunter who is our lighthouse. Gentleman, you laid your whale-sized hearts bare so that we could see into your souls like no one else could do. It is my honor to be named alongside you in this category. I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depth of talent of Hong Chau [co-star and fellow nominee].”
Fraser continued his speech by commenting on his career trajectory. “I started in this business 30 years ago, things didn’t come easy to me but there was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time, until it stopped. I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgment. It couldn’t be done without my cast. It’s been like I’ve been on a diving expedition and the air on the line to the surface is being watched over by some people in my life like my sons.”
The Whale stars Fraser as Charlie, a house-bound 600-pound English teacher as he tries to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, played by Sadie Sink. Fraser's performance and the film itself won many awards throughout the season, but it was not without its controversies—particularly of how it stigmatizes fat bodies.
The other nominees in the Best Actor category were Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Paul Mescal (Aftersun), and Bill Nighy (Living).
Brendan Fraser won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role of Charlie in The Whale. Watch his emotional and heart-felt speech here: