Brendan Fraser wins Best Actor Oscar in career comeback


Brendan Fraser accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for ‘The Whale’. AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

LOS ANGELES (AP) β€” Brendan Fraser won the Best Actor Oscar for β€œThe Whale,” a transformative role in which he reignited a career that was once so brilliant.

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Fraser was one of five first-time nominees in the category, the first time since 1935. Fraser beat Austin Butler of “Elvis”, Colin Farrell of “The Banshees of Inisherin”, Paul Mescal of “Aftersun” and Bill Nighty from “Living”.

Fraser stars as Charlie, a reclusive 600-pound gay English teacher trying to mend his relationship with his teenage daughter, found him at the perfect time.

Earlier in his career and Fraser said he wouldn’t have had the life experience or the heartache to authentically play a character who lives with sadness, pain and life-threatening obesity.

Fraser’s portrayal earned him standing ovations at film festivals in Venice and Toronto, and early acclaim continued to build throughout the fall and winter. Along with receiving the best reviews of his career, he won a SAG Award for his performance. Along the way, he gave emotional acceptance speeches, not afraid to cry at times.

It’s a career comeback, which Hollywood has always loved.

The 54-year-old American-Canadian actor broke out in the early 1990s with comedy “Encino Man” and drama “School Ties.” He was the face of movie posters for the “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy” trilogy, where he worked with fellow Oscar nominee Michelle Yeoh. He made dramatic turns in “Gods and Monsters,” “The Quiet American,” and the 2006 Best Picture winner “Crash.”

He’s also had his share of projects that bombed.

Then Fraser practically disappeared.

He was absent from the big screen for several years, dealing with a series of personal problems involving divorce, the death of his mother, health problems and an alleged assault by the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. As a result, he boycotted that year’s Golden Globes.

He regained career momentum with a series of cable TV shows before appearing in director Steven Soderbergh’s film “No Sudden Move” two years ago.


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