Brendan Fraser has won his first ever Oscar after scooping the Best Actor award for his widely acclaimed role in The Whale, proving 2023 truly is the year of the ‘Brenaissance’.
Fraser, 54, beat Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal and Bill Nighy in the Best Actor in a Leading Role category at the 95th Academy Awards today (Sunday 12 March), following widespread acclaim for his poignant turn as a 600lb recluse.
Tearing up, he said he was 'so grateful for the award', coming on stage and saying: “So this is what the multiverse looks like!
“I thank the academy for this honour… Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale."
Addressing his fellow best actor nominees, he said actors laid their 'whale-sized hearts bare', saying it was his 'honour' to be named alongside them in this category."
Fraser went on: “I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depths of the talent of Hong Chau.
“I started in this business 30 years ago…there was a facility that that I didn’t appreciate at the time until it stopped.”
He added: "I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgement because it could not be done without my cast."
Aronofsky's psychological drama, which also features the likes of Stranger Things star Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton and Ty Simpkins, follows an overweight man called Charlie as he tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter.
The father previously left his family for his gay lover, who later died – with the grief and guilt triggering a spiral of binge eating.
After the film’s release, Fraser’s heartfelt performance left viewers describing it as his best role yet.
Fraser’s physical transformation for The Whale was also no easy feat, as it involved an intricate combination of prosthetics, CGI and makeup.
During an appearance at GalaxyCon Raleigh last year, Fraser explained what went into creating the character physically.
He told the audience: “The real task was to authentically create this character with all the tools we have with makeup, prosthetics, suit building, and a little bit of CGI to ensure that the shape of this man’s body obeys the laws of physics and gravity.”
The actor added: “I can attest that this project was made by artisans in each and every category.”
Fraser would spend hours every day getting ready to shoot scenes as Charlie, with his prosthetics reportedly weighing up to 300lbs.
He even had to do lessons with a dance instructor to teach him how the character would have walked with that much weight.
Director Aronofsky previously told Variety that Fraser was perfect for the role.
“I knew he could play someone who most people would start off by dismissing, but within five minutes they’d start to feel something for him," he said.
"Then, within 20 minutes, they’re starting to fall in love with the character, because there’s just something about Brendan. Pretty soon, he starts to break your heart.”