Brendan Fraser won Best Actor at the 2023 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday night. He beat out a number of actors, including Elvis star Austin Butler, who won the best drama actor award at last week’s Golden Globes.

The Critics Choice Association, consisting of more than 600 entertainment critics and journalists, picked Fraser, whose role as a reclusive, obese teacher got a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival.


Fraser, who starred in films such as The Mummy (1999) and George of the Jungle (1997), has been working outside of the limelight for the past 10 to 15 years.

Two years ago, Steven Soderbergh pulled the actor out of obscurity for the heist film No Sudden Move, and just last year, he starred in Darren Aronofsky‘s The Whale. Since its release, critics have praised Fraser’s performance as his career best.

Fraser got emotional when his name was announced.

On stage, he said, “This movie, The Whale, it’s 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 is incredible.”

He thanked his costars Hong Chau, Sadie Sink, Sam Hunter and Ty Simpkins as well as Aronofsky for giving him the opportunity.

The actor closed his speech by sharing, “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.”

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