Critics Choice Awards: Tearful Brendan Fraser hails comeback from ‘the wilderness’ following win

Critics Choice Awards: Tearful Brendan Fraser hails comeback from ‘the wilderness’ following win

A tearful Brendan Fraser hailed his comeback from “the wilderness” as he triumphed at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards.

The 54-year-old took home the best actor award for his performance in The Whale, which, he said, was about “finding the light in a dark place”.

Fraser has been hotly tipped for several major awards for his role in the film, but the CCA win is his first.

Becoming visibly emotional onstage as he collected the award, he praised his castmates Hong Chau and Sadie Sink, while also singling out The Whale’s director Darren Aronofsky.

Critics Choice Awards 2023

Critics’ Choice Awards 2023: (Evening Standard )
Critics’ Choice Awards 2023: (Evening Standard )
Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Michelle Yeoh and Stephanie Hsu (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Janelle Monáe (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Janelle Monáe (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Lily James (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Lily James (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Kate Hudson (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Kate Hudson (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Catherine Martin, Austin Butler and Baz Luhrmann (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Catherine Martin, Austin Butler and Baz Luhrmann (Getty Images for Critics Choice )
Anya Taylor-Joy (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Anya Taylor-Joy (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Catherine Martin, Austin Butler, and Baz Luhrmann (REUTERS)
Catherine Martin, Austin Butler, and Baz Luhrmann (REUTERS)
Cate Blanchett (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Cate Blanchett (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Brendan Fraser (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Brendan Fraser (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Elle Fanning (Getty Images for Critics Choice)
Elle Fanning (Getty Images for Critics Choice)

“This movie, The Whale, is about love. It’s about redemption. It’s about finding the light in a dark place,” he said.

“And I’m so lucky to have worked with an ensemble that is incredible.”

Addressing Aronofsky, he continued: “I was in the wilderness and probably should have left the trail of breadcrumbs.

“But you found me, and like all the best directors you merely just showed me where I needed to be.”

The Whale follows the story of Fraser’s morbidly obese English teacher Charlie as he tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, played by Sink.

The actor added “To those like Charlie, who I played in this, if you in anyway struggle with obesity, if you find yourself in a very dark sea…

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

“…I want you to know that it’s good to have the strength to just go to the light, Good things will happen.”

Fraser’s big win came on an extremely disappointing night for both British and Irish talent, which was snubbed in all major categories.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees Of Inisherin, which had picked up nine CCA nominations, came away empty-handed.

Elsewhere, it was a successful night for sci-fi thriller Everything Everywhere All At Once, which had led the CCA’s film contenders with 14 nominations.

The film – starring Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan and James Hong – won best picture overall, as well as the best director accolade for filmmakers Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert.

The pair thanked fellow directors, their families and their cast as they collected the award, with Kwan also becoming emotional as he  told audiences: “Growing up I did not think I was going to ever become anything.

Julia Roberts arrives at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Julia Roberts arrives at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

“I had no idea I had something to offer the world and I just need to thank the people who turned me into the man I am now and turned me into the director I am today, my mother.

“Maybe the first Asian American immigrant mother tell them tell their son to go to film school.”

Quan maintained his winning streak too, as he took home the Critics Choice award for best supporting actor, telling audiences: “I’m going to try real hard to not cry tonight”.

In the best actress category, Cate Blanchett won, though she described the accolade as “arbitrary”, and praised the work of all other women in the industry.

“This best actress, I mean it is extremely arbitrary considering how many extraordinary performances there have been by women not only in this room,” she said.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

“You don’t stand here, unless you’re dancing with a director who asks you to do something that you think is impossible and you’re terrified to do.

“So thank you, Todd (Field) for the opportunity, for your trust, for the writing and for the for the extraordinary creative conversation.”

Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Lady Gaga all lost out again to Naatu Naatu, from the film RRR, which won the Critics Choice award for best song.

In the television categories US shows Abbott Elementary and Better Call Saul dominated with victories for best series for comedy and drama respectively, as well as a slew of other awards.

Special honours were given to Jeff Bridges, who received the lifetime achievement award, and Janelle Monae, who was given the SeeHer award, which recognises honours a woman who advocates for gender equality, portrays characters with authenticity, defies stereotypes and pushes boundaries.

The CCA, the second major ceremony of the awards show season, is historically the most accurate predictor of Academy Award nominations, which are due to be announced on January 24.