Brendan Fraser delivers tearful speech after winning Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards
Meanwhile, The Banshees of Inisherin went home empty-handed.
Brendan Fraser delivered an emotional acceptance speech at the Critics Choice Awards after he won the Best Actor gong for his performance in The Whale.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream) and based on a play by Samuel D. Hunter, Fraser stars in the film as a 600-pound middle-aged man named Charlie who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter Ellie (Stranger Things' Sadie Sink).
Fraser has received critical acclaim for his performance in the film, which involved him being fitted with prosthetics weighing up to 300 pounds and working with a dance instructor for months in order to figure out how his character would move with the excess weight.
And the hard work has translated into recognition during awards season, with Fraser winning the award for Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night.
As he collected his award, the actor reflected on the movie and how it is about "love", "redemption" and "finding the light in a dark place".
He then said he was glad that critics "woke up" for him, before giving an emotional thank you to Aronofsky for finding him "in the wilderness."
Brendan Fraser’s acceptance speech after winning Best Actor 😭🖤 #CriticsChoiceAwards pic.twitter.com/iQgFe4FnjS
— Natalie ❁ (@livelyackles) January 16, 2023
“I was in the wilderness, and I probably should have left a trail of breadcrumbs, but you’ve found me,” Fraser said.
“And like all the best directors, you merely just showed me where to go to get to where I needed to be.”
As the music started playing to try and get him to wrap up the speech, Fraser continued to address the crowd and didn’t let it stop his powerful address at the award show.
“If you – like a guy like Charlie, who I played in this movie – in any way, struggle with obesity or you just feel like you’re in a dark sea. I want you to know that if you too can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen,” the actor said.
Fraser later told reporters that the Best Actor honor meant “more than [he knows] how to say with words.”
“It was an act of faith,” said the performer on making The Whale.
“We all approached this piece as if it would be the first and the last time we would ever have the privilege to be able to do this kind of work ever again, each day.
"I think that this movie can help do a lot of good.”
Among the performers that Fraser beat in the best actor category at the awards ceremony was Colin Farrell for his turn in The Banshees of Inisherin.
The acclaimed Irish comedy-drama did not pick up any prizes on the night, losing Best Comedy to Glass Onion and Best Picture to Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Barry Keoghan and Brendan Gleeson from Banshees were also beaten in the Best Supporting Actor category by Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All At Once), while Kerry Condon lost to Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever).
Alongside Fraser and Sink, The Whale also features amongst its cast Hong Chau (Watchmen), Samantha Morton (Minority Report) and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3).
After the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival in September last year, Fraser was reduced to tears after being given a six-minute standing ovation in a heartwarming moment for the actor.
Fraser has also emerged as one of the front runners for the Best Actor gong at the Oscars in March, along with Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin and Austin Butler for Elvis.
The Whale is set for an Irish release on 3 February 2023.