Brendan Fraser Tipped for Oscar as 'The Whale' Debuts: 'Heroic'

Actor Brendan Fraser was overcome with emotion as he received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice International Film Festival amid his career comeback.

The festival audience jumped to its feet following a screening of Fraser's new film The Whale as Oscar buzz generates for the star.

A-listers such as Hillary Clinton staffer Huma Abedin, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Nick Kroll watched on as Fraser "sobbed" during the standing ovation, according to Variety.

brendan fraser the whale
Brendan Fraser attends "The Whale" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 04, 2022 in Italy where he received a standing ovation for his performance and has generated a lot of Oscar buzz. Franco Origlia/Getty Images Europe

Film pundits at the premiere rushed to tip Fraser will likely be nominated or win an Academy Award for his acting in the film directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Fraser's performance as the obese lead character, Charlie, was described as "heroic" by The Hollywood Reporter's chief critic, David Rooney.

Rooney tweeted: "Brendan Fraser gets the role of a lifetime and shatters your heart with it in Darren Aronofsky's THE WHALE, which seems a sure bet to whip up the Oscar pundits."

Sarah Marrs, debut editor of Lainey Gossip, wrote on Twitter: "Anyway, I am ready for Brendan Fraser's Oscar Season!"

Writer Jim Dobson said: "Brendan Fraser will have an Oscar on his mantle next year. A small consolation prize for the abuse he has endured in Hollywood for so long."

In the film based on Samuel D. Hunter's play of the same name, Fraser plays Charlie, a 600-pound middle-aged man eating himself to death in a spiral of trauma and shame.

Knowing his days might be numbered due to ill-health, Charlie tries to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter Ellie, played by Stranger Things breakout star Sadie Sink.

Charlie had abandoned his daughter when he left his wife Mary (Samantha Morton) to be with a man who later died, sending the heartbroken man on his binge-eating journey in an attempt to mask his pain and guilt.

Fraser was able to look like an obese man thanks to a combination of a latex fat suit and digital prosthetics.

The actor told Newsweek in 2021 the suit was tough to be in everyday.

"The wardrobe and costume was extensive, seamless, cumbersome," he said.

Fraser also correctly anticipated that audiences will be deeply moved by the film.

"This is certainly far removed from anything I've ever done but not to be coy, I haven't seen any of it yet but I do know it's going to make a lasting impression," the actor told Newsweek.

Hunter penned the screenplay based on his stage show and other cast members include, Hong Chau (Downsizing) and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3).

Best known for his roles in films like The Mummy, George of the Jungle and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Fraser claimed he was blacklisted from Hollywood after he alleged that he was sexually abused in 2003.

Work dried up for the star after he alleged he had been abused by then president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk.

Fraser described falling into a depression after the incident and subsequent major life events, including a bitter divorce from his first wife Afton Smith and ongoing health problems after suffering injuries while performing stunts on several film projects.

The star also went viral in 2021 when he burst into tears upon learning how much his fans were rooting for his career renaissance.

In September 2021, a TikTok video that showed the actor "choking up" after a fan said everyone was "rooting" for him went viral—and Fraser has now responded to the moment, according to a video that was published on YouTube in February.

"I appreciate it and it let me know that I guess I just wasn't aware that there's that much support," the 53-year-old said, speaking at FANEXPO Boston. "I appreciate it very very much."