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Brendan Fraser Wins First Oscar For Playing Gay Man in The Whale

Brendan Fraser Wins First Oscar For Playing Gay Man in The Whale

Brendan Fraser
Getty Images

He becomes the sixth heterosexual actor to win a Best Actor Oscar for playing gay.

Brendan Fraser’s dream comeback has reached another high, as the beloved actor won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in The Whale.

In The Whale, Fraser played Charlie, a 600-lbs reclusive gay English professor who gained weight after the death of his partner. In the film, he struggles with his health and tries to reconnect with his daughter.

Fraser tearfully accepted the award to raucous applause. He thanked the studio and filmmakers for making such a bold film and “offering him a lifeline” in his career. He also thanked the cast of the movie, pointing out Hong Chau, whom he said “only whales can swim at the depth” of her talent. Fraser also thanked his manager and his sons and wife.

”Gentleman, you laid your whale-sized hearts bare so that we could see into your souls like no one else could do and it is an honor to be named alongside you in this category,” he said, congratulating the other actors nominated.

Fraser is a beloved Hollywood figure, and his role in the movie has been almost universally praised, however the movie didn’t work as well for viewers and received mixed reviews. Many also thought the film contained fatphobic scenes and themes, and criticized the use of a fat suit in the movie.

Five previous straight actors have won Best Acting Oscars for playing gay roles. William Hurt won for Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985, Tom Hanks for Philadelphia in 1993, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote in 2005, Sean Penn for Milk in 2008, and Rami Malek won for Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018.

14 other straight and cis actors have been nominated for gay and trans roles in the category. Three more cis and straight actors have won Oscars in the Best Supporting Actor category as well.

This year, Jamie Lee Curtis and Michelle Yeoh also won acting Oscars for playing queer roles in the movie Everything, Everywhere All At Once.

Fraser also won the Screen Actors Guild Award, Critics’ Choice Award, and Satellite Award for the role.

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