Brendan Fraser accepts the Academy Award for Best Actor for ‘The Whale’ at the 95th Annual Academy Awards held in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA on March 12, 2023.
REUTERS/Carlos Barria LOS ANGELES, March 12 (Reuters) – Fraser tried to reconnect with his estranged daughter on Sunday as he played a 270-pound gay man in “The Whale,” winning his first Academy Award.
Brendan was already being touted as an Oscar contender when Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller premiered at last summer’s Venice Film Festival. The film is based on Samuel Hunt’s 2012 play of the same name.
The role marks his return to the big screen as a leading man after a nine-year absence from leading roles. Once the action star of blockbusters like “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy” trilogy, Frazier has largely fallen out of the spotlight due to stunt injuries.
The 54-year-old actor took on new physical challenges in the movie “The Whale”. He wears a heavy bodysuit, prosthetics and make-up that can take up to six hours to embody the story’s fat character, Charlie. The result is that he can barely walk in the character’s cramped house.
“I had to learn to move in a new way. I’ve gained muscles I didn’t know I had, the Canadian-American actor told reporters in Venice in September, calling it the hardest part of his career.
The film received criticism from some critics who said that the film’s portrayal of Charlie was based on a depressed overweight man. Some have argued against prosthetics rather than casting a fat actor.
“Hopefully, we can change the way we think about how we connect or not, how we can reject each other just by how we treat each other,” Fraser said in an interview in December.
In a speech full of nautical references, Fraser said of his partner Hong Zhou that “only whales can swim in the deep.”
Referring to his 30-year career in Hollywood, Fraser said there were aspects of his journey that “I didn’t appreciate until it stopped.”
He ended his hilarious conversation with a red-eyed thank you to his children and his “best first mate” Jenny Moore. His Best Actor trophy capped off Fraser’s award-winning season this season, and he also won a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Critics’ Choice Award for his performance in “The Whale.”
For his groundbreaking performance in Darren Aronofsky’s movie at its Venice International Film Festival premiere in September, Fraser received a six-minute standing ovation that marked the beginning of his journey to the Oscars.
Fraser had won more than 20 lead actor awards from critics’ organizations, including the Critics’ Choice Assn., despite some controversy surrounding his casting as a 600-pound, suicidal, gay professor and the depiction of morbid obesity in the movie (based on Samuel D. Hunter’s play). and won the most trustworthy Oscar forerunner: the Screen Actors Guild Award.
As he thanked those who helped him get to the stage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Fraser was clearly overcome and inconsolable the entire time.
My goodness, I thank the Academy for this honor and our studio A24 for producing such a daring movie. I’m grateful to [director] Darren Aronofsky for giving me a creative lifeline and bringing me aboard the good ship The Whale,” he said. “Our lighthouse, Samuel D. Hunter, wrote it. “.
He began his presentation by thanking film director Darren Aronofsky for “creating a lifeline for me.”
Fraser with Colin Farrell (“Enisherin”), Paul Mezcal (“Afterglow”), Austin Butler (“Elvis”) and Bill Nagy (“Live”) earned him a nomination in the category.