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Brendan Fraser, the guest on this episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, which was recorded in front of students at Chapman University, is a widely admired and much-beloved actor whose big screen work spans 30-plus years. In recognition of his 2022 portrayal of a morbidly obese man racing against the clock to reconcile with his estranged daughter in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, the 54-year-old is now, for the first time, an Oscar nominee.
The Los Angeles Times once said of Fraser, “He exudes a masculine and earnest accessibility, a throwback charm that hearkens to an earlier Hollywood era and brings to mind names like Flynn and Gable,” while GQ opined, “He exudes a kind of solid decency and equanimity that makes the implausible plausible. His presence in a scene makes you believe it.” All of this made him into what The Guardian described in 2008 as “one of the most bankable and audience-friendly stars in the industry.”
Shortly thereafter, though, Fraser began to fade from the public eye — but never from the hearts and minds of filmgoers and filmmakers, many of whom grew up with him and were vocal about how much they missed him and yearned for his return.
That, of course, has finally happened in a major way with The Whale, for which Fraser has won Critics Choice and SAG awards and been nominated for Gotham and BAFTA awards en route to the Oscars. Some are even calling it “the Brenaissance.”
Take a listen as he looks back on his personal and professional journey to this moment.
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