He’s an Academy Award frontrunner for his performance in ‘The Whale.’
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."
\u201cAll these years and we discover that Brendan Fraser really is the guy you think he is, which means he's too pure for this world and the world put some scars on him. I love him more than ever now.\n\nhttps://t.co/XGXV8FG5GK\u201d— Geek Girl Diva (@Geek Girl Diva) 1519313112
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.
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