Brendan Fraser to Receive Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival

The actor will pick up another prize for his performance in “The Whale” next month

Brendan Fraser at The Whale special screening
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Brendan Fraser will be honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival with the Spotlight Award, Actor, for his performance in “The Whale,” the festival announced Tuesday. He will be presented with the honor at the festival’s Jan. 5 awards ceremony on Jan. 5, 2023 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs through Jan. 16.

“Brendan Fraser demonstrates his impressive talent in Darren Aronofsky’s powerful adaptation of ‘The Whale,’” festival chairman Harold Matzner said in a statement. “Fraser gives an extraordinary and haunting performance that paints a vivid portrait of our inability to escape our own sadness. For this award caliber performance, it is our honor to present the Spotlight Award, Actor to Brendan Fraser.”

In “The Whale,” Fraser plays Charlie, an English teacher whose obesity has confined him to his apartment. As his health deteriorates, he is desperate to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (played by Sadie Sink). During the course of the film, he interacts with a caretaker (Hong Chau) and a missionary (Ty Simpkins). 

In his review for TheWrap, Ben Croll wrote, “With Charlie stuck in place, made immobile by his countenance and awaiting the inevitable, his apartment becomes a world unto itself, a place of conflict, promise and maybe even catharsis for the three other characters circling the dying professor. As the film’s anchor and center of gravity, Fraser pulls off an impressive feat, acting as foil for the three players in his orbit while hitting intentionally contradictory notes.”

Fraser has already picked up several honors and nominations for “The Whale,” including the Tribute Award at the Toronto film festival. He is expected to be nominated for an Oscar, which would be his first.

At the Palm Springs event, Fraser will be in good company among 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).