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brendan fraser, the whale, golden globes

Brendan Fraser at the Montclair Film Festival, 2022.

Actor Brendan Fraser is being hailed as the comeback kid after his performance in Darren Aronofsky's “The Whale” has made him an Oscar frontrunner. Variety, Indie Wire and Awards Daily all have Fraser near the top of their lists for Best Actor alongside Austin Butler for his performance as the King of Rock ’n’ Roll in “Elvis” and Colin Farrell for his role in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

“The Whale” is a film about a 600-pound writing teacher in failing health who desperately wants to reconnect with his daughter. “With ‘The Whale,’ Aronofsky and Fraser have taken substantive risks, in the name of an insistent empathy. I think, and my tear ducts agree, that those risks paid off,” Glenn Kenny writes for Roger Ebert.com.

Usually, when people are frontrunners for the Academy Award they are also likely to receive a nod from the Golden Globes. However, if Fraser is nominated, he won’t be attending.

“I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” Fraser told GQ in an intimate interview. “No, I will not participate.”


“It’s because of the history that I have with them,” Fraser continued. “And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.”

Fraser claims that in 2003, Philip Berk, the former president and member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), groped and sexually assaulted Fraser at a luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hotel. "I felt ill. I felt like a little kid," he told GQ. "I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry."

When Fraser made the allegation public in 2018, it resulted in an outpouring of support for the actor at a time when health problems and trauma from the assault forced him to retreat from the limelight. Berk disputes Fraser's claim and reached out to him but he admitted no wrongdoing.

Berk denied the allegation in a statement: “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.”

via Montclair Film

The HFPA wrote a joint statement to be signed by Fraser but he refused because he felt it downplayed Berk’s behavior. Berk was expelled from the HFPA last year but not for his behavior toward Fraser. He was thrown out after writing an email to HFPA members that called Black Lives Matter a "racist hate group.”

Fraser’s critical acclaim for his performance in “The Whale” is a welcome comeback for the actor and his fans who see him as part of their childhood. He delighted a lot of younger Gen Xers and millennials with his performances in the 1990s and 2000s, including in “School Ties,” “Encino Man,” “The Mummy” franchise and “Looney Tunes: Back in Action.”

Fraser told GQ that he’s excited to do the press rounds to campaign for an Oscar nod this awards season. But he won’t put his own dignity ahead of his career by attending an awards ceremony held by a group that he believes neglected his humanity.

In a town where there is no higher honor than a nod during award season, Fraser shows that he has even higher standards to uphold.

True

The last thing children should have to worry about is where their next meal will come from. But the unfortunate reality is food insecurity is all too common in this country.

In an effort to help combat this pressing issue, KFC is teaming up with Blessings in a Backpack to provide nearly 70,000 meals to families in need and spread holiday cheer along the way.

The KFC Sharemobile, a holiday-edition charitable food truck, will be making stops at schools in Chicago, Orlando, and Houston in December to share KFC family meals and special gifts for a few select families to address specific needs identified by their respective schools.

These cities were chosen based on the high level of food insecurity present in their communities and hardships they’ve faced, such as a devastating hurricane season in Florida and an unprecedented winter storm in Houston. In 2021, five million children across the US lived in food-insecure households, according to the USDA.

“Sharing a meal with family or friends is a special part of the holidays,” said Nick Chavez, CMO of KFC U.S. “Alongside our franchisees, we wanted to make that possible for even more families this holiday season.”

KFC will also be making a donation to Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit that works to provide weekend meals to school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.

“The generous donations from KFC could not have come at a better time, as these communities have been particularly hard-hit this year with rising food costs, inflation and various natural disasters,” Erin Kerr, the CEO of Blessings in a Backpack, told Upworthy. “Because of KFC’s support, we’re able to spread holiday cheer by donating meals for hunger-free weekends and meet each community’s needs,” Kerr said.

This isn’t the first time KFC has worked with Blessings in a Backpack. The fried chicken chain has partnered with the nonprofit for the last six years, donating nearly $1 million dollars. KFC employees also volunteer weekly to package and provide meals to students in Louisville, Kentucky who need food over the weekend.

KFC franchisees are also bringing the Sharemobile concept to life in markets across the country through local food donations and other holiday giveback moments. Ampex Brands, a KFC franchisee based in Dallas, recently held its annual Day of Giving event and donated 11,000 meals to school children in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods.

If you’d like to get involved, you can make a donation to help feed students in need at kfc.com/kfcsharemobile. Every bit helps, but a donation of $150 helps feed a student on the weekends for an entire 38-week school year, and a donation as low as $4 will feed a child for a whole weekend.

Joy

His aunt died on Thanksgiving and his 'rap' about how the family handled it is hilarious

The 95-year-old's 'bold, creative decision' to die on Thanksgiving when the whole family was at her house led to this chaotic masterpiece.

A viral video tells a wild, oddly hilarious tale of a guy's aunt dying on Thanksgiving.

A loved one dying on a holiday isn't normally something to laugh about, but there are exceptions to every rule. This video is one of them.

TikTok user Darien (@dairy.n) shared a story about his family's Thanksgiving Day that is so gloriously bizarre and delightfully real, it's hard not to laugh, despite the fact that it's about his aunt dying. The fact that he tells the tale in the style of a "One thing about me" rap is extra hilarious, and judging by the comments of some of the 6.7 million people who've watched it, it's struck people's funny bones.

Dark humor? A little bit. But his aunt was 95 and she died of natural causes, which helps the hilarity feel not quite so inappropriate. She also apparently had a fabulous sense of humor that she used to cope with her own difficulties throughout her life, so the video is more like a fitting tribute than a what-the-heck storytelling.

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Therapist gives hilarious advice on how to mess with your therapist.

A therapist on TikTok is wreaking havoc with his advice to clients, putting out information that could be detrimental to the mental health of therapists everywhere. OK, I'm being melodramatic, but from the comments, you can see he's at least giving them a few heart palpitations.

Jeff Guenther, who goes by Therapy Jeff on TikTok, is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) who not only owns a successful private practice and a therapist directory for clients called Therapy Den, he also creates content on TikTok. In one of his latest videos, his sense of humor is on display, which could be debated by those affected.

It's all in good fun, messing with his global colleagues by telling clients exactly how to prank them. Yup. A therapist is giving away the code on how to mess with your therapist in session and I have to say, as a therapist, my heart would skip a beat or four if a client did any of these things. But then, we would have a good laugh, so it seems like a pretty harmless prank.

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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

This week's finds include an adorable baby's first 'Dada,' an appreciative delivery driver, an angel rocking out to 'O Come, All Ye Faithful' and more.

Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.

Ho ho ho, happy humans!

It's that time of the week again, when we gather together the most smile-worthy tidbits of the past seven days and share them with you all. As the lucky person who gets to wrap them up in a nice, shiny, virtual bow, I'm delighted to tell you that this week's list is awesome. They always are—that's kind of the point—but this week I can practically guarantee you're going to be brimming with joy by the end.

Right out of the gate, we've got baby giggles. I mean, come on. Who can resist baby giggles?

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Music

The legendary Kevin Bacon has given us the surprise Christmas song of the season

Time to add 'Here It Is Christmastime' to the holiday playlist.

Kevin Bacon sings 'Here It Is Christmastime' with Old 97's.

Holiday music is a funny thing. On the one hand, there are the old classics that we replay year after year—Bing Crosby's "White Christmas," Nat King Cole's "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," Burl Ives' "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas" and so on. On the other hand, we have the ever-increasing repertoire of modern Christmas music, since every artist seems to feel the need to release a holiday album.

If it weren't for modern Christmas music, we would never have been blessed/cursed with "Last Christmas" or "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and there's no question that such songs can be a mixed bag. But this year's surprise breakout holiday hit comes from a rather unexpected source—the one and only Kevin Bacon—and it's simply delighful.

Even more unexpectedly, Bacon's Christmas song comes from Marvel's "The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special." If you didn't know there was a "Guardians of the Galaxy" Christmas special, you're not really missing much—except this Kevin Bacon song.

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