The Brenaissance is well and truly underway with Brendan Fraser taking home the award for Best Actor at the 2023 Critics Choice Awards.
The Whale star beat out the other nominees Tom Cruise (Top Gun: Maverick), Austin Butler (Elvis), Bill Nighy (Living), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), and Paul Mescal (Aftersun).
After a very heartfelt acceptance speech, Fraser joked, “It was Herman Melville who once wrote that there are only five critics in America – the rest are asleep. I don’t know what it means either, but I’m sure glad you woke up for me. Where were you for Furry Vengeance?”, taking a jab at his 2010 comedy.
He praised the cast and explained that The Whale is “about redemption. It’s about finding the light in a dark place, and I’m so lucky to have worked with an ensemble that is incredible.”
But he gave special mention to director, Darren Aronofsky, “I was in the wilderness – and I probably should’ve left a trail of breadcrumbs – but you found me, and like all the best directors, you merely just showed me where to go to get me where I needed to be.”
Through tears, Fraser added, “If you — 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 Whale has been generating serious amounts of hype on the film festival circuit with many praising Fraser in particular. It’s the feel-good story of the moment in a time when people are craving some good news. In that sense, this has been engineered expertly by the films PR coordinators. We just hope the film is as good as the critics say, but at the very least it seems that Fraser’s performance might just be the best of his career.