Brendan Fraser tearfully addresses Hollywood struggles in SAG Awards speech: ‘Bawling like a baby’

Brendan Fraser is choked with emotion as he accepts SAG Award. (Getty)

Brendan Fraser gave a powerful acceptance speech at the SAG Awards 2023, urging those who are struggling to “have courage”.

Fraser won the award for Male Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Charlie in The Whale, which follows a reclusive 600-pound gay English teacher trying to reconnect with his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink).

For many, his performance marked the beginning of a Brendan Fraser renaissance, although the film itself has faced some controversy.

The Mummy actor’s career tailed off over a decade ago – in 2018, he came forward with allegations that the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Philip Berk, groped him in 2003. He said it made him “retreat” (Berk has denied Fraser’s story).

Fraser addressed his rocky journey at the SAG Awards.

He kicked off his speech joking that Sir Ian McKellen had told him to “be good, be brief and be seated”.

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Things soon turned emotional as he thanked SAG for making him “feel like I belonged”.

“As actors, we all want to belong to a tribe and that’s when I found where I belong. And if you told that guy back then that I’d be standing right here right now, I would not have believed you,” he said.

After thanking director Darren Aronofsky and writer Samuel D. Hunter, he turned his attention to the room, and to those facing their own struggles to within the industry.

“[Charlie is] someone who is on a raft of regrets, but he’s in a sea of hope. And I’ve been at that sea and I rode that wave lately and it’s been powerful and good, and I’ve also had that wave smash me down to the ocean floor and dragged my face along there and wound up on some strange beach in a different world and wondering, where am I now,” he said, through tears.

“And I just want you to know … all the actors out there who have gone through that or are going through that, I know how you feel. Believe me, if you just stay in there and you put one foot in front of the other, you’ll get to where you need to go. Have courage.”

Brendan Fraser’s SAG Awards speech touched many, who also shared their joy at him finally getting his flowers.

“Brendan Fraser winning the SAG Award for best performance by an actor last night is so heartwarming, now he needs the Oscar,” one person wrote.

Another added: “Brendan Fraser is… making me love Hollywood again, he’s so talented, and he seems like a truly nice guy. He deserves all the awards and to win the Oscar.”

Also on the night, Michelle Yeoh won the SAG Awards for Female Actor in a Leading Role, dedicating her award to “every little girl that looks like me”.

The SAG Award is Brendan Fraser’s second win this season, following his success as the Critics Choice Awards. He also received his first ever Oscar nomination for his performance in The Whale.

Fraser notably refused to attend the 2023 Golden Globe Awards, put together by HFPA, due to the historic allegations against Philip Berk.

The HFPA has said an investigation found Berk “inappropriately touched” Fraser, but that it was meant as a joke. Berk has denied wrongdoing and remained president of HFPA until 2021, when he was expelled over an email that described Black Lives Matter as a “racist hate movement”.