UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | May 28, 2024

The joyous return of Brendan Fraser

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It’s not often you get to see an actor crawl their way out of the blacklist hole of Hollywood, but Brendan Fraser managed to do just that, and it’s amazing to watch him do it.

Thanks to his starring role in “The Whale,” a film about a recluse man nearing ever closer to death due to struggles with obesity, Fraser has been nominated for best actor at The Academy Awards for February 2023.

He’s already won best actor at the 2023 Critic’s Choice Awards. The absolute joy and surprise can be seen on Fraser’s face when his name was called.

During his acceptance speech, Fraser said, “If you, like a guy like Charlie who I played in this movie, in anyway struggle with obesity or you just feel like you’re in a dark sea. I want you to know that if you too can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light- good things will happen.”

While this moment of his speech is inspirational, it’s also indicative of Fraser’s journey up to this point.

Fraser was what one might call an action movie heartthrob back in the late ‘90s to early 2000s. Films like “The Mummy (1999),” “Journey to The Center of The Earth” and “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” showcased his popcorn action movie charisma in full display.

However, Fraser felt his career was at an end after he made sexual assault allegations against a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Even though he received an apology from the HFPA higher-up, Fraser thought he was blacklisted from the HFPA and even The Golden Globes.

Fraser was also nominated for best actor at the 2023 Golden Globes for his performance in “The Whale,” and while he didn’t win the award that night, he was no where to be seen at the event.

In an interview with Ian Hanomansing, Fraser said: “It would be too triggering for me to go honestly. I’m not trying to uphold myself as any paragon or spokesperson. I can only live the experience of my life and respect that my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. I don’t know if I could have in good conscience received an award from them under the circumstances that have less to do with me making a statement, and more to do with remaining true to myself. It’s my fight, no one else’s.”

Fraser’s comment about sexual assault came at a time when such allegations weren’t taken as seriously. The “Me Too” movement hadn’t begun working its way into social media yet.

Seeing Fraser in the public eye once again is something special. You can see that he’s still a little wary about what he says, but the internet can’t get enough of him being back on camera for the world to see.

Some great stories have come to light thanks to his recent press tour of “The Whale.”

For instance, the fact that Fraser received not one, but two seperate six-minute standing ovations while “The Whale” was premiering at film festivals in Europe.

He also got to exchange comedic quips with Graham Norton regarding his disdain for monkeys due to his role in 1997’s “George of the Jungle.”

In the same episode of the “The Graham Norton Show,” he also talked about the fact that he never stopped acting in the first place. He worked on smaller films with smaller budgets. “The Whale” is just an example of what Fraser is truly capable of when the right script and director are in his corner.

Folks on social media have christened this era of his career as the “Brenaissance.”

A title he doesn’t care much for, saying in a humorous manner, “You can call me whatever you want just as long as you’re calling me.”

In YouTube videos featuring Fraser on his press tour, you can take one look at the comments and see how much he’s been missed.

To a lot of adults working today, Fraser was a take no nonsense action star of their childhood. Punching Mummies, wearing loincloths and punching Daffy Duck in the face for good measure.

Having him return to such critical claim is something that can only be described as satisfying and wholesome to the 10th degree.

It’s moments like these that brings hope to actors who are treated with disregard by Hollywood executives. It’s no small feat to be able to come back into the public eye to a standing ovation.

One can only hope this isn’t just a one-time comeback for Fraser, and that we will be living in the “Brenaissance” for quite some time.