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Brendan Fraser says it’s ‘gratifying’ to be praised for comeback role in The Whale after award at Palm Springs Film Festival: ‘I feel very fortunate’

Brendan Fraser was overwhelmed on Thursday when he was honored with the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The 54-year-old star received the acting honor for his acclaimed turn as a 600-pound man struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter in Darren Aronofsky’s film The Whale.

‘It’s been gratifying, it’s been eye-opening,’ Fraser said of the acclaim his latest role has brought him, according to People.

‘It has made me have a sense of accomplishment by way of seeing how this story is changing people’s hearts and minds.’

Overwhelming: Brendan Fraser said it had been so 'gratifying' to be honored for his role in The Whale after receiving the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Wednesday, according to People

Overwhelming: Brendan Fraser said it had been so ‘gratifying’ to be honored for his role in The Whale after receiving the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Wednesday, according to People

The Mummy star leads the whale as a reclusive English professor who has been consumed by binge eating to assuage his grief at the loss of his lover. 

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But even as he continues his self-destructive behaviors, he yearns to reunite with his teenaged daughter (Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink) before it is too late. 

Fraser noted home important the role was to him, especially considering the paucity of juicy parts like it. 

‘That’s gratifying, to say at least, and that kind of opportunity does not come along in this circus show of show business that we all play along with sometimes,’ he continued. ‘But when it does, and it’s material that’s handled with care and the project comports itself in a way that’s interesting and important, I feel very fortunate and lucky to be a part of it.’

Moving: Fraser leads the whale as a reclusive English professor who has been consumed by binge eating to assuage his grief, but he hopes to reconnect with his troubled teen daughter (Sadie Sink) in the limited time he has left

Moving: Fraser leads the whale as a reclusive English professor who has been consumed by binge eating to assuage his grief, but he hopes to reconnect with his troubled teen daughter (Sadie Sink) in the limited time he has left

Applauded: 'It's been gratifying, it's been eye-opening,' Fraser said. 'It has made me have a sense of accomplishment by way of seeing how this story is changing people's hearts and minds'; seen with costar Hong Chau on Wednesday

Applauded: ‘It’s been gratifying, it’s been eye-opening,’ Fraser said. ‘It has made me have a sense of accomplishment by way of seeing how this story is changing people’s hearts and minds’; seen with costar Hong Chau on Wednesday

Fraser added that the praise he had received for The Whale was another important boost as he returns to film with some of his most high-profile roles in years.

‘It invigorates me to see the positive effects that this film is having for its audience,’ he continued. ‘And after everything’s said and done about giving a performance and a film that’s popular, that’s all fine and well and wonderful.’

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He added, ‘It’s remunerative, in a way, for me to think that this is a story that will live on and you can refer back to and you can see it again. And I think it can do some good.’

Although The Whale has earned mixed reviews from critics, with some criticizing Aronofsky’s direction, as well as the screenplay and source material with claims that it is fatphobic, even its detractors have been largely positive about Fraser’s lead performance. 

'I broke out crying, it solved all the problems': Brendan Fraser said on Late Night With Seth Meyer on Wednesday that the six-minute standing ovation for The Whale gave him validation

‘I broke out crying, it solved all the problems’: Brendan Fraser said on Late Night With Seth Meyer on Wednesday that the six-minute standing ovation for The Whale gave him validation

On Wednesday, Fraser appeared on Late Night with host Seth Meyers and shared how moved he was by the six-minute standing ovation he received after The Whale had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

‘I broke out crying, it solved all the problems,’ he said.

However, he admitted that even with the success and critical acclaim, he still feels like an ‘imposter’ in Hollywood. 

‘I feel like I’m still waiting for someone to walk in and tell me that the jig is up,’ he admitted. ‘They haven’t found me out yet but I know that I’m doing what I love and it’s a privilege. I’m really happy to be able to do that.’

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