Brendan Fraser, the acclaimed actor, has been awarded his first ever Oscar for his exceptional performance in The Whale, confirming that 2023 is indeed the year of the ‘Brenaissance’.
At the 95th Academy Awards, held on Sunday 12th March, Fraser emerged as the Best Actor in a Leading Role, beating Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal, and Bill Nighy, all of whom were worthy contenders.
The touching portrayal of a 600lb recluse earned Fraser wide acclaim and moved many to tears, including himself, as he accepted the award.
“So this is what the multiverse looks like! I thank the Academy for this honor… Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale,” Fraser expressed emotionally. Addressing the other nominees, he said, “Actors lay their whale-sized hearts bare, and it’s an honor to be named alongside them in this category.”
Fraser’s heartfelt words continued as he thanked the cast, saying that “it could not be done without them.” He also recognized the talent of Hong Chau, saying that “only whales can swim at the depths of her talent.” Fraser went on to reflect on his 30-year career and expressed his gratitude for the acknowledgment.
He explained that there was a facility that he didn’t appreciate at the beginning, but he does now.
The Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky, is a psychological drama that features a talented cast, including Stranger Things star Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton, and Ty Simpkins.
The film follows an overweight man named Charlie, played by Fraser, as he tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter. Charlie had previously left his family for his gay lover, who later died, triggering his binge eating.
Fraser’s portrayal of Charlie left viewers raving about his performance, considering it his best role to date. To create the character physically, Fraser underwent a remarkable transformation, requiring prosthetics, CGI, and makeup.
In an interview at GalaxyCon Raleigh last year, Fraser described the intricate process of creating the character. He spoke about the task of authentically creating the character with makeup, prosthetics, and suit building and ensuring that the shape of the man’s body obeyed the laws of physics and gravity.
Fraser spent several hours every day getting ready to shoot scenes as Charlie, and his prosthetics reportedly weighed up to 300lbs. He even took lessons with a dance instructor to learn how to walk with such weight.
Director Aronofsky praised Fraser’s performance, saying that he knew Fraser was perfect for the role.
He explained, “I knew he could play someone who most people would start off by dismissing, but within five minutes they’d start to feel something for him. Then, within 20 minutes, they’re starting to fall in love with the character because there’s just something about Brendan. Pretty soon, he starts to break your heart.”
Fraser’s win is a significant milestone in his career, and it is clear that his talent has been acknowledged and celebrated. He is undoubtedly a deserving winner of the Best Actor award, and his performance in The Whale is sure to be remembered as one of the most poignant and authentic portrayals in recent cinematic history.