Brendan Fraser Wins Another Award for Whale Performance

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Fraser moves closer to securing a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars thanks to a major award from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The Brendan Fraser renaissance just made another major stop on the awards trail.

Hot off his TIFF Tribute Award victory, the 53-year-old actor earned the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Riviera accolade for his buzzy performance in Darren Aronofsky’s moving drama The Whale.

In recent years, the SBIFF American Riviera trophy has gone to eventual Oscar nominees and winners like Kristen Stewart (Spencer), Renée Zellweger (Judy), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book), Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood).

The SBIFF honor marks the latest in Fraser’s ongoing hot streak at the fall festivals, where The Whale — about a dying man, Charlie, reconnecting with his estranged daughter (Sadie Sink) as he battles life-threatening obesity — has thus far generated significant praise for the former Mummy series star.

The Whale
Brendan Fraser

Atop earning the best reviews of his career, Fraser’s TIFF Tribute Award victory positioned him alongside past recipients who’ve gone on to win or be nominated for an Oscar after scoring at TIFF, including Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), and Joaquin Phoenix (Joker).

“I became accustomed to wearing Charlie’s body pretty quickly,” Fraser said during a PEOPLE and EW video interview at TIFF. “I discovered that, once I took it off, I could still feel the sensation of wearing it, almost like an undulation. At the same time, once I took all the applications off at the end of the day, I felt a deepening sense of respect for people who live in that corporal being, because I could remove it like clothing and wardrobe and makeup, and their challenge to do that with their own body is not as sudden.”

The Whale opens in theaters on December 9, 2022.