Oscar Connection | The Cinema of What I Tell You

Dear Cousin Theo:

Among the nominees for the 95th edition of the Oscars, the name of Brendan Fraser stands out for his work in “The whale (The whale)” by Darren Aronofsky. It remains to be seen if on March 12 the interpreter will go up to collect the statuette for best actor, I leave measuring your chances of victory to those who have an Oscar card, but what is being striking is the construction of the story that Hollywood is so generous that it gives second chances in the form of a tribute, although with Fraser’s permission here who is winning by a landslide is his co-star in “The Man from California”, Ke Huy Quan, the great favorite in the category of best supporting actor in “All at once everywhere” for his condition of a former child star who has been dealing with being a broken toy since adolescence.

Since “The Whale” was presented at the 2022 Venice Film Festival, we have seen Brendan Fraser being devoured by his own tears among applause, meetings with the press, awards and tributes that are part of the campaign orchestrated by A24. Fraser is neither the first nor will he be the last to receive that condescending pat on the back from an industry and a press that has always considered him a second-rate actor for the mere fact of having worked hard and successfully in comedy, those same people who now he recognizes a talent that has always been there, it was the same one that plunged him into misery 13 years ago when Brendan Fraser was crushed by the internet by turning him into a meme for his appearance at the 2010 Golden Globes.

Prior to his Oscar nomination for “The Whale” Brendan Fraser was among the candidates for the 2023 Golden Globes at the gala that marked the television return of the Foreign Press Association awards in Hollywood, after the opportune tweaks that the organization took to clean up its image and incidentally secure the large sum for the broadcast rights from NBC. The actor was not among the attendees on the grounds that his mother had not raised a hypocrite. Where did Fraser’s attitude towards the Hollywood Foreign Press Association come from?

For that we have to go back to the year 2003. Brendan Fraser was at an event organized by the foreign press in Hollywood and like a good star he was taking pictures with the fans when he suddenly felt a pinch on his butt and when he turned around he found that it was Philip Berk, who at the time was president of the Association. This seemed disrespectful to Fraser and threatened to take legal action against the Association, something he stopped when Berk offered his apology. Years after the incident, in 2011, Fraser attended the Golden Globes again and later verified the tyranny of the internet when an image of him in which he overreacted to the words of Robert De Niro, who was the recipient of the honorific of that edition.

That was unpleasant and for someone who was not going through his prime it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In that year, Brendan Fraser’s career was at a low point, his success in comedies like “George of the Jungle” (1997) or in adventures like “The Mummy” (1999) had been far behind and he was not even given opportunities to demonstrate which was much more than that as he did in “Gods and Monsters” (1998) and the Oscar-winning “Crash” (2005). His personal life was also being complicated, he had separated from the mother of his children, just when he was being the laughingstock of Hollywood he had lost his mother, and he was also dealing with the terrible pain caused by an injury while filming “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” (2008).

When Brendan Fraser had the opportunity to respond, he denounced that his images of the Golden Globes were actually a revenge on the part of the Foreign Press Association in Hollywood after the incident that happened with Berk because the actor had threatened to sue him for sexual harassment. It was actually at this point that Brendan Fraser’s ordeal began. The press laughed at him and the industry stopped counting on him.

There were still a few years left for the birth of #MeToo, the movement made visible by cases of sexual harassment after Harvey Weinstein’s fall in Hollywood, but when after that fall of 2017 Brendan Fraser returned to the fore to tell his story, he did not find the solidarity that Scarlett Johansson did find when she denounced sexism by a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who touched her chest on the red carpet of the 2006 gala and whose image went viral and not to make fun of , making it clear that in the caste system it corresponds to him to be a second-rate victim.

In “The Whale” Brendan Fraser plays Charlie, a teacher who began a process of self-destruction through food to punish himself for having abandoned his daughter with whom he wants to meet again before it is too late. Darren Aronofsky, who is undoubtedly a director who knows how to push his actors to the limit, wanted to bet on Fraser despite the fact that he was no longer the star of yesteryear. Fraser’s return has been possible thanks to television where he has found his place in the last decade, first with “The affair” (2016-2017) and later with “Professionals” (2020-2022).

He also worked under the orders of Steven Soderbergh in “No sudden movements” (2021) and is in the cast of the highly anticipated “Killers of the flower moon” by Martin Scorsese. Brendan Fraser is willing to take advantage of this second chance that Hollywood has given him, although I don’t know if he is aware that as of March 13, when this awards season ends and the promotion of “The Whale” will cease to be in the foreground.

mary carmen rodriguez

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