Broadway Alum Brendan Fraser Wins 2023 Oscar for Best Actor


Brendan Fraser | Photo: Kyusung Gong

Dan Meyer
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March 12, 2023 10:30 PM

Broadway alum Brendan Fraser won the 2023 Oscar for Lead Actor for his performance as Charlie in The Whale. Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, the movie follows an English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconcile with his estranged family before it’s too late. 

Fraser previous appeared on Broadway in Elling. The stage version of The Whale received a world premiere in Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2012, The Whale debuted Off-Broadway, starring Shuler Hensley as Charlie. Later productions took place at South Coast Repertory in California and Victory Gardens Theater in Illinois. 

Joining Fraser on screen were Stranger Things star Sadie Sink as Charlie’s daughter and Hong Chau as Charlie’s health aide. The latter scored a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance in the film. Rounding out the cast were Ty Simpkins and Oscar nominee Samantha Morton. 

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, The Whale features a screenplay by Hunter, based on his own play. Similar to both the director and writer’s previous works, like Black Swan for Aronofsky or A Case for the Exisetence of God for Hunter, the film was praised for tackling dark themes its incredible performances. The movie also earned a third Oscar nomination in makeup and hairstyling for Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley. 

The Whale has been in theatres since December 9, 2022, after premiering at the Venice Film Festival earlier in the fall. It is currently available for VOD purchase on various streaming services, including Amazon and Apple TV. It has grossed $36.6 million million worldwide, so far.

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Dan Meyer

After 4 years in the biz, Dan swapped out theatre for sports and is now a researcher at NBC Olympics. Spectacle remains a key passion and is dedicated to building bridges between different forms of entertainment. He has worked as a writer and editor at Theatrely and Playbill, covering Broadway and beyond. In addition, he has been published in Rolling Stone, Spy, and others.