Brendan Fraser praised the virtues of ‘perseverance’ after winning the Best Actor Oscar at the 95th awards ceremony for his performance in The Whale.
The Hollywood actor, 54, said he felt “light in the head” following his win, but said the film, which won two Oscars at Sunday’s ceremony, “will change hearts and minds.”
Fraser beat out Elvis’ Austin Butler, Irish actors Colin Farrell from The Banshees Of Inisherin and Aftersun’s Paul Mescal, as well as British actor Bill Nighy for Living.
The accolade is Fraser’s first Oscar nomination and win.
The Whale sees him play obese and lonely school teacher Charlie, as he struggles to reconnect with his estranged daughter, played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.
Asked in the winners’ room how he felt, he said: ‘I feel a little light in my head, this is actually a bit heavy – one arm may be longer than the other by the end of the evening.’
On playing Charlie, he said: “Charlie is so much more than just a gay man. He’s a father, he’s an educator, he’s a truth seeker… and that he’s madly, uncomfortably in love with anyone, he’s irrelevant.
“He found love, he lost it and then he found it again – I think it’s something we can all take a page from and know it with perseverance…and if you put one foot in front of the other, like Charlie did , go to the light.
“Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it. Good things will happen.”
He added, “I think it’s a film that’s going to change hearts and minds – and that’s good, really good.”
During his emotional Oscar acceptance speech, Fraser thanked director Darren Aronofsky for “throwing me a creative lifeline” and the studio for making “such a bold film.”
“So this is what the multiverse looks like,” he said as he lifted the gong.
“I thank the academy for this honor… Darren Aronofsky for giving me a creative lifeline and pulling me aboard the good ship The Whale.”
Addressing his fellow Best Actor nominees, he continued, “You have laid bare your whale-sized hearts so that we could see into your souls like no one else could and it is an honor for me to be nominated alongside you in this category”.
Fraser continued to thank his family and children during the tearful speech, as well as his The Whale co-star Hong Chau.
“I want to tell you that only whales can swim in the depths of Hong Chau’s talent,” he said.
The Whale won two Academy Awards at the ceremony, with Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Annemarie Bradley all striking a gong for hair and makeup.
In his acceptance speech, makeup artist Morot said: “We would like to thank the amazing makeup artists who worked with us to create the character of Charlie. Our director Darren Aronofsky who propelled us to new heights, thank you.
“Our amazing actor Brendan Fraser over there, thank you. Our producer, the studio and the Academy, thank you very much.