Palm Springs, CA (December 20, 2022) – The Palm Springs International Film Awards has announced that Brendan Fraser is the recipient of the Spotlight Award, Actor for his performance in The Whale. The Film Awards will take place in-person on January 5, 2023 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, with the festival running through January 16, 2023. The event will be presented by American Express and sponsored by Entertainment Tonight and IHG Hotels & Resorts.
“Brendan Fraser demonstrates his impressive talent in Darren Aronofsky’s powerful adaptation of The Whale. Fraser gives an extraordinary and haunting performance that paints a vivid portrait of our inability to escape our own sadness,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “For this award caliber performance, it is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actor to Brendan Fraser.”
Fraser joins this year’s previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actress), Austin Butler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actor), Viola Davis (Chairman’s Award), Danielle Deadwyler (Breakthrough Performance Award, Actress), Colin Farrell (Desert Palm Achievement Award, Actor), Bill Nighy (International Star Award, Actor), Sarah Polley (Director of the Year Award), Michelle Yeoh (International Star Award) and The Fabelmans (Vanguard Award). Past recipients of the Spotlight Award, Actor include Bryan Cranston for Trumbo and Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge. Both went on to receive Academy Award nominations for Best Actor.
In Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of The Whale, Brendan Fraser gives a virtuosic performance as Charlie, an English teacher living with obesity whose time is running out. As he makes a last bold attempt to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, Charlie must confront, with his full heart and fierce wit, long-buried traumas and unspoken love that have haunted him for decades. But The Whale offers much more than just darkness. It’s a soaring character study of a man wrestling with the enormity of his regret, the duty of fatherhood, and the feasibility of goodness itself. At its core, The Whale is a story about transformation and transcendence, one man’s odyssey into himself and out of his body, a journey through the depths of grief towards the possibility of salvation. The A24 film also stars Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.
Fraser is most well-known for his role in Universal’s Mummy Franchise as Rick O’Connell. Past work also includes Crash, The Quiet American, Gimme Shelter, Escape from Planet Earth, The Nut Job, Whole Lotta Sole, Journey to the Center of the Earth, GI Joe: The Rise Of the Cobra, The Air I Breathe, George of the Jungle, Furry Vengeance, Extraordinary Measures, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Bedazzled, Monkey Bone, Blast From the Past, Dudley Do-Right, Mrs. Winterbourne, Encino Man, School Ties, With Honors, Airheads, The Scout, and The Twilight of the Golds, No Sudden Move, Doom Patrol, Line of Descent, Professionals, The Secret of Karma, The Poison Rose, Trust, Condor, The Affair, The Field and Texas Rising. For his role in The Whale, Frasier received Best Actor nominations from the Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Critics Association, Satellite Awards and several regional film critics organizations.
About the Palm Springs International Film Society
The Palm Springs International Film Society is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization whose mission is to cultivate and promote the art and science of film through education and cross-cultural awareness. The Film Society produces the Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) and Film Awards every January and Palm Springs ShortFest in June. In addition to curating the best in international cinema, PSIFF’s Film Awards has come to be known as the first stop on the campaign trail for the Academy Awards® and our Oscar®-qualifying ShortFest is the largest short film festival and market in North America. Our festivals, year-round member screenings and educational programs manifest our organization’s mission by nurturing and encouraging new filmmaking talent, honoring the great masters of world cinema, and expanding audience horizons.
Photo credit: Chad Griffith
Steven Wilson / Lauren Peteroy
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