Brendan Fraser says Oscar-nominated character has ‘profoundly changed my life’
By Mike Bedigan, PA Los Angeles Correspondent
Brendan Fraser says he is “overjoyed” to have been nominated for a best actor Oscar for his performance in The Whale, and said his character, Charlie, had “profoundly changed my life”.
The actor was among the big Hollywood names celebrating news of their nominations, which were announced on Tuesday.
All of this year’s best actor nominees were first timers, and Fraser was joined in the category by Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, Paul Mescal and Austin Butler.
“I’m absolutely overjoyed and deeply grateful to The Academy for this recognition and for recognising Hong Chau’s beautiful performance and Adrien Morot’s incredible make-up,” he said, in a statement shared with the PA news agency.
The Whale sees Fraser play obese and reclusive schoolteacher Charlie, as he struggles to reconnect with his estranged daughter, played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.
“I wouldn’t have this nomination without Darren Aronofsky, Samuel D Hunter, A24 and the extraordinary cast and crew who gave me the gift of Charlie,” Fraser went on.
“A gift I certainly didn’t see coming, but it’s one that has profoundly changed my life. Thank you.”
Farrell said he was “beyond honoured” by the nomination, earned for his performance in dark Irish comedy The Banshees Of Inisherin, and sent his “congratulations to all the lads”.
English acting veteran Nighy said he was “surrounded by assassins” while filming Living, for which he received recognition, and said the nomination “belongs to them all”.
Mescal was nominated for his role in coming-of-age drama Aftersun, and described his nomination as “bananas” and an “insane honour”.
“This is truly a special moment for everyone involved in Aftersun,” he said, in a statement shared with PA.
“To be recognised by the Academy is such an insane honour and I’m so utterly grateful.
“I want to dedicate this nomination to my two friends Charlotte and Frankie who I love dearly. This is bananas, thank you.”
Sci-fi thriller Everything Everywhere All At Once led the nominations, picking up a total of 11 – including best picture, best actress and best supporting actor and actress.
Ke Huy Quan, who has already won a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice Award for his performance, said adding an Oscar nomination to his collection was beyond his “wildest dreams”.
“I cannot even begin to describe how incredible this feeling is to be recognised as an Oscar nominee! Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine this moment. It still doesn’t feel real!” he said.
“Thank you so much to the Academy for this wonderful honour and for believing in our little movie. The outpouring of love and the warm welcome back is something I will cherish forever.
“To my fellow nominees – I am floored by your work, and I feel very lucky to be standing alongside you today. To my EEAAO family, congratulations. I love you!”
Jamie Lee Curtis, who appears alongside Quan in the film, shared a picture of her reaction to news of her and co-star Stephanie Hsu’s nominations for best supporting actress for their own roles.
“This is what surprise looks like,” she wrote on Instagram.
“The first is the moment of hearing my name, and then the thrill of my friend, Stephanie’s @stephaniehsuofficial name, and the rest of the nominations and then the best thing of all, a loving embrace for my husband.”
Acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro, who has already won two Oscars previously, picked up a nomination for best animated feature for his Pinocchio.
“Grateful and happy for our team and fabulous artists and technicians across three countries and from all over the world,” he wrote.
Fellow director Sarah Polley, whose film Women Talking was nominated for the coveted best picture category, added: “I’m very happy today and so grateful to the incredible collective of cast and crew who made Women Talking.”