Brendan Fraser won for Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday night for his poignant portrayal of Charlie in The Whale. He’s also considered the frontrunner at the Oscars. And he’s sure to collect more statues on the way to that penultimate award show.
And it couldn’t happen to a more deserving man. Sure, there’s the typical story arc of the ultimate comeback: achieving success after a time of falling off everyone’s radar, only to be feted by your peers, many of whom wrote him off years ago.
But Brendan Fraser’s comeback is so much more.
He was blackballed by a Hollywood industry insider who had sexually harassed him, and not just any insider, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Philip Berk (who disputes the account). Fraser said the shocking experience was hard to come back from, saying he felt “something had been taken away from me” in a GQ interview. Bravely, he refused to stay silent about the incident. The HFPA puts on the Golden Globes, which Fraser said he would never attend even if he won. He was the frontrunner for Best Actor, but the award instead went to Austin Butler for Elvis. Had Fraser won, it would have made for an interesting, if awkward moment during the telecast.
Combined with the incident, the physical toll that years of doing stunts had done to his body, the Mummy actor had dived into a form of depression for years. You can read the full account in the GQ article, which I highly recommend, it’s worth the full read.
But in the meantime, he kept showing up at fan conventions and was said to be very approachable.
His isolation within the industry seemed unjust and utterly unfair. But turn back to work he did, and he put in one of the best performances of his career in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. The response from his fans and peers has been rapturous. We love a comeback story. But even more, we love to cheer on a sensitive soul such as Fraser. This has the feel of a comeback that we’ve been praying for a long time to occur.
And everyone wants to celebrate his win. Check out the room when his name was announced at the Critics Choice ceremony:
“I was in the wilderness and I probably should have left a trail of breadcrumbs, but you found me,” Fraser tearfully said during his acceptance speech (was there a dry eye in the audience?). “For anyone like Charlie, who struggles with obesity, or for anyone who just feels like you are in a dark sea: I want you to know that you too have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light. And good things will happen.”
Everything Everywhere All at Once also win big that night, but the cast members took plenty of time to congratulate Fraser with his inspiring win, including Michelle Yeoh.
Yeoh’s co-star from Everything, Ke Huy Quan—who also won that night—had an awesome Encino Man reunion with Fraser that was a mutual comeback celebration. You can read more about their emotional meeting here.
Not lost in the action, the entire cast of the movie basically adopted Brendan Fraser as an honorary cast member.
I mean, who doesn’t love Brendan Fraser? Let’s keep the wins coming all award season long. The happiness is infectious and it couldn’t happen to a lovelier person.