Brendan Fraser grew emotional as he reflected on the ups and downs of his career when he picked up the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role on Sunday (26.02.23).
The 54-year-old actor - who stepped out of the spotlight amid health issues and making an accusation of sexual assault against the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association - was visibly choked up as he discussed the parallels between his own life and that of his character in 'The Whale', as well as offering a message of hope for others who are struggling.
He said: "I will treasure this but never more than what I treasured that I used to keep in my wallet, which was my SAG card that I earned in 1991. It made me feel like I belonged, we're actors we all want to belong to a tribe.
"If you told that guy back then I'd be standing here right now I wouldn't have believed you, I wouldn't have believed I'd work with a worldclass filmmaker like Darren Aronofsky, and say those incredible words to my incredible castmates and I never would have believed I'd have been offered the role of my life.
"The character Charlie is someone on a raft of regrets in a sea of hope and I've been at that sea and rode that wave and it's been powerful and good but I've also had that wave smash me down the ocean floor and drag my face along and end up on a strange beach wondering 'Where I am now'.
"All the actors who have gone through that, I know how you feel. If you just stay in there and put one foot in front of the other you'll get where you need to go. Have courage."
Brendan won the award ahead of Austin Butler ('Elvis'), Colin Farrell ('The Banshees of Inisherin'), Bill Nighy ('Living') and Adam Sandler ('Hustle').
Meanwhile, Michelle Yeoh admitted her mother would be "eternally grateful" to SAG-AFTRA after she was honoured with the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role award for her work on 'Everything Everywhere All At Once', beating off competition from Cate Blanchett ('Tar'), Viola Davis ('The Woman King') Ana de Armas ('Blonde') and Danielle Deadwyler ('Till').
She said: "I think if I speak my heart will explode.
"SAG-AFTRA to get this from you who understands what it is to get here. Everyone of you know the journey, the rollercoaster ride, the ups and downs, but most important, we never give up. I thank you for your love, your support. I know I’m up against titans. S***. F***. Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
"This is not just for me, it’s for every little girl that looks like me.
"We’re here because we love what we do and we’ll never stop doing this but thank you for giving me a seat at the table so many of us need this, we want to be seen, we want to be heard. I am grateful and my mom will be eternally grateful too."