Brendan Fraser wins best actor Oscar in career comeback

Streaming HUBMarch 13, 2023

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Brendan Fraser won the best actor Oscar for “The Whale,” a transformative role in which he revived a career that was once so bright.

“I started in this business 30 years ago and things didn’t come easily to me,” an emotional Fraser said on stage Sunday night, breathing heavily. “I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgement.”

Fraser was one of five first-time nominees in the category, the first time that had happened since 1935. Fraser beat Austin Butler of “Elvis”, Colin Farrell of “The Banshees of Inishrin”, Paul Mescal of “Aftersun”. Bill Nighy of “Living”.

Fraser plays Charlie, a 600-pound reclusive gay English teacher who tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter, having found her just in time.

More than ever in his career, Fraser has said he doesn’t have the life experience or heartache to authentically play a character who lives with sadness, pain and life-threatening obesity.

“I think this is a movie that’s going to change some hearts and minds, and it feels really cool,” he said backstage.

Fraser’s portrayal earned him standing ovations at film festivals in Venice and Toronto, and the early praise continued through the fall and winter. In addition to receiving career-best reviews, she earned a SAG Award for her performance. Along the way, he gave emotional acceptance speeches, sometimes not afraid to cry.

His eyes were red as he held the Oscar in one hand, clearly moved by the reaction of his Hollywood peers.

“It’s been incredibly rewarding and affirming,” he said backstage, “and it’s given me a lesson in humility and gratitude.”

It’s the comeback of the career Hollywood has always loved.

The 54 year old Canadian American actor debuted in the early 1990s with the comedy “Encino Man” and the drama “School Tie”. He was the face on film posters for “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy” trilogy, where he starred alongside fellow Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh. He had dramatic turns in “Gods and Monsters,” “The Quiet American” and 2006’s Best. Picture winner “Crash.”

He had his share of projects that used to be bombings as well.

Then Fraser disappeared.

He was away from the big screen for several years to deal with a series of personal issues involving divorce, the death of his mother, health problems and an alleged assault by the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. He boycotted this year’s Golden Globes as a result.

He gained career momentum with a series of cable TV shows before appearing in director Steven Soderbergh’s film “No Sudden Move” two years ago.

Now, he is the owner of one of the biggest awards in movies.

“I hope to live up to it,” he said.


For more on this year’s Oscars, watch:


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