The Whale, starring Brendan Fraser, had its world premiere in Venice over the weekend. It’s on my TIFF schedule and I can’t wait to see it, but in the meantime, I am contenting myself with premium-branded Wholesome Brendan Fraser Content, of which there is PLENTY. 


EVERYONE is excited for Brendan Fraser’s Oscar Season—except maybe Austin Butler, unless he actually IS as lovely as everyone says, in which case, he is probably also rooting for Brendan Fraser—and social media lit up with videos of Fraser looking genuinely overwhelmed by his reception in Venice.


Brendan Fraser has been THROUGH IT. He was one of the top-tier hunks of the 1990s and early 2000s—and always a much better actor than that implies, see also: School Ties and Gods and Monsters—and then he kind of disappeared, replaced by a younger generation of superhero hunks. Then, when he reemerged into public consciousness via a chilling role on The Affair, GQ profiled him and revealed the years of back problems and surgeries and recovery cycles he was left with following injuries sustained while doing his own stunts on the various Mummy movies. There was also his #MeToo story—do NOT make Brendan Fraser go to the Golden Globes if he damn well doesn’t want to—which contributed to his 2000s withdrawal as he says the experience of being sexually harassed by Philip Berk, then president of the HFPA, “made [him] feel reclusive”. There was also a downward trend in his career as he aged out of himbo roles, but because he was so convincing in those himbo roles, it took him a minute to gain traction in his “serious character actor” era. 


Well, he’s there now, and even though early reviews of The Whale are divisive, praise for Fraser is unanimous. (It reminds me a lot of how Elvis played coming out of Cannes—mixed reactions to the film itself, but everyone agrees the lead performance is terrific.) Brendan Fraser is an Oscar frontrunner in the year of our lady 2022. I am honestly just so happy for him. There’s still a long way to go in awards season, and The Whale will have to weather valid questions about fat suits and body representation, as well as the old “straight men playing gay for trophies” debate. But at least right now, it seems Brendan Fraser will be held separate from that, left to enjoy his Oscar season in peace. It’s good vibes only for Brendan Fraser’s Oscar Season.