Brendan Fraser won best actor at Sunday’s Critics Choice Awards for his role in The Whale.
Fraser had some strong competition for the award, including Golden Globe winners Austin Butler, star of Elvis, and Colin Farrell, who starred in Banshee of Inishreen.
Tom Cruise (“Top Gun: Maverick”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) and Bill Knight (“Living”) are also nominated.
In the end, the organization, which is made up of more than 600 media critics and entertainment journalists, chose Fraser, whose turn as a reclusive, obese teacher named Charlie in Darren Aronofsky’s film was followed by a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival.
“It was Herman Melville who once wrote that there are only five critics in America, the rest are asleep. I don’t know what that means either, but I sure am glad you woke up for me,” Fraser said in his acceptance speech.
Although the film has sparked some backlash, Fraser ended his speech with a message of hope.
“If you, like a guy like Charlie, who I play in this movie, are struggling with obesity in some way, or you just feel like you’re in a dark sea, I want you to know that if you can, too. have the strength to just stand up and go to the light, good things will happen,” he said.