Brendan Fraser came on the scene in the ’90s with a lot of teen comedies like Encino Man and children’s films like George of the Jungle. Occasionally, he would do a drama like School Ties or The Scout, but it wasn’t until he did The Mummy in the late ’90s did people start to take him seriously as an actor. His role as Rick Connell was his breakout in Hollywood. It was an action comedy series that the fans liked and made a lot of money. Films like Gods andMonsters and Crash would later show what acting chops Fraser truly had.
Lately, Fraser is having a comeback of sorts. He has been getting a lot of praise for his role in Doom Patrol as Robotman. In the DC Comics series, he wears a lot of makeup to disguise himself, so he looks just like the character in the comics. He took this to the next level when he accepted the role of Charlie in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Fraser plays a six-hundred-pound man who lives in his apartment and doesn’t leave. He even teaches English at a local community college virtually with his camera off on his laptop, so he doesn’t embarrass himself regarding his student’s thoughts on his obese appearance.
Fraser delivers the performance of his life as this man estranged from his daughter and suffering from a respiratory illness. He wants to get redemption for leaving her when she was a child. He is very emotional and desperate at times and reverts to his eating habit which caused him to gain so much weight. Even though Fraser is in the fat suit, his emotions come through the makeup in spades. His relationship with his caregiver, played by Hong Chau, and his daughter, played by Sadie Sink, are the two most effective things that bring out his Academy Award-worthy performance. Darren Aronofsky seems to be able to get these types of performances from his actors.
With all the awards talk and critics wins for Fraser, the inevitable conversation comes up about the abuse he withstood at the hands of Philip Berk, the President, at the time, of the HFPA, which gives their awards away at the Golden Globes. They’ve come under a lot of pressure lately without this scandal involving Fraser and Berk. Fraser has come out and said he would not attend the ceremony on Tuesday night even though he is nominated for Best Actor in protest to what he suffered at the hands of Berk. He was groped at a party in 2018 by Berk. He said, “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. I’m a lot of things but not that”.
This was the reason why Fraser disappeared from Hollywood for so long. “I was blaming myself, and I was miserable – because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around, and he copped a feel.’… it made me feel reclusive.” In response, Berk said it was “a total fabrication” but issued an apology anyway. The HFPA did an internal investigation and concluded that he “inappropriately touched” Fraser but said Berk’s action “was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.”
The HFPA came under tremendous scrutiny a few years later for not having any Black voting members and was canceled, resulting in various winners returning their awards. The show was taken off the air by NBC for an entire year while they retooled their membership process and added one hundred new members from around the world, not in Los Angeles or the United States. Berk would also come under fire for saying that Black Lives Matter “was a racist hate movement” and was subsequently removed as the President of the HFPA shortly thereafter.
As someone who has come under harassment by employers and co-workers in the past, I can relate to what Fraser is going through. Maybe not on his level but in general. People are allowed to do whatever they want and say whatever they want and don’t care how it makes someone feel. In our world, people are starting to have to be held accountable for their actions. I have felt very bad many nights after coming home crying or having to listen to loud rock-n-roll music to get the treatment by my co-workers and employers out of my head. It has affected me greatly.
I feel very strongly that Fraser’s stance regarding this treatment and how the organization handled it was the thing to do. Even though he will probably win, it shows how much this incident affected him that he is boycotting the awards ceremony. I’m sure he will have more opportunities to accept awards this season from the Screen Actors Guild, Critics Choice Awards, and Academy Awards. His performance has earned him those potential honors shortly.
The world has finally started to say no to mistreatment, abuse — sexual or verbal — and misconduct by people in powerful positions. Just because you are a boss or a head of a famous or popular organization or have a lot of money doesn’t mean you can treat people in any way you want. That goes for any race, creed, or gender. I applaud Fraser, and I think this is a great narrative for him this awards season. He deserves as many awards as he can gather, and this redemption story he’s enduring right now is very much deserved.
Dan Skip Allen
Sean Boelman EIC/Founder/Critic disappointment media Spokesperson CACF
This article is written by Sian Cane which I take quotes from. The article is linked below.