brendan fraser delivers emotional acceptance speech during critics choice best actor win for the whale

Brendan Fraser was overcome with emotions as he accepted the best actor trophy for his role in “The Whale” at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday.

The 53-year-old actor plays Charlie, a 600-pound gay, reclusive man who feels as though his life is coming to an end.

“It was Herman Melville who once wrote that there are only five critics in America — the rest are asleep,” he said.” 

He added, “I don’t know what it means, either, but I’m sure glad you woke up for me. Where were you for ‘Furry Vengeance?’” Fraser called out his 2010 comedy where he starred alongside Brooke Shields and Ken Jeong.

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“The Whale” star Brendan Fraser delivered an emotional acceptance speech Sunday at the Critics Choice Awards. (Kevin Winter)

“This movie, ‘The Whale,’ is about love. It’s about redemption. It’s about finding the light in a dark place, and I’m so lucky to have worked with an ensemble that’s incredible,” Fraser said.

Through a trembling voice and shaking hands, he noted, “Took me 32 years to get here.”

He called screenwriter Sam Hunter his “lighthouse” and praised director Darren Aronofsky.

“I was in the wilderness and I probably should have left a trail of bread crumbs, 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,” Fraser said.

With tears in his eyes, he said, “If you’re 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 can just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen. Thank you. Good night.”

Fraser was up against Austin Butler in “Elvis,” Tom Cruise in “Top Gun: Maverick,” Colin Farrell in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Paul Mescal in “Aftersun” and Bill Nighy in “Living.”

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Brendan Fraser accepts the Best Actor award for "The Whale" onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards.

Brendan Fraser accepts the Best Actor award for “The Whale” onstage during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards. (Kevin Winter)

Brendan Fraser and Jeanne Moore smile while attending Critics Choice Awards.

Brendan Fraser and Jeanne Moore smile while attending Critics Choice Awards. (Matt Winkelmeyer)

He had largely stayed out of the spotlight after addressing physical ailments due to performing many of his own stunts on screen, and was then also plagued by the mental repercussion of an alleged sexual assault incident that happened in 2003.

It’s Fraser’s first leading role in almost a decade. 

“The Mummy” star has roles this year in Martin Scorsese’s latest western film “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and with Dawn Olivieri and Marcia Cross in “Behind the Curtain of Night.”

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Here’s a full list of the 28th Critics Choice Award winners:

Best Picture: “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Actor: Brendan Fraser, “The Whale”

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Tár”

Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Supporting Actress: Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Best Young Actor: Gabriel LaBelle, “The Fabelmans”

Best Acting Ensemble: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Best Director: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Original Screenplay: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Sarah Polley, “Women Talking”

Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, “Top Gun: Maverick”

Best Production Design: Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino, “Babylon”

Best Editing: Paul Rogers, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” 

Best Costume Design: Ruth E. Carter, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

Best Hair and Makeup: “Elvis”

Best Visual Effects: “Avatar: The Way of Water”

Best Comedy: “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Best Animated Feature: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best Foreign Language Film: “RRR”

Best Song: Naatu Naatu, “RRR” 

Best Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Tár”

Best Limited Series: “The Dropout”

Best Drama Series: “Better Call Saul”

Best Actor in a Drama Series: Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”

Best Actress in a Drama Series: Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Giancarlo Esposito, “Better Call Saul”

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus” 

Best Comedy Series: “Abbott Elementary”

Best Actor in a Comedy Series: Jeremy Allen White, “The Bear”

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Best Actress in a Comedy Series: Jean Smart, “Hacks”

Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: ” Henry Winkler, “Barry”

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Shery Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”

Best Movie Made for Television: “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”

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