Brendan Frasier cries, wins best actor



A tearful Brendan Fraser accepted best actor for “The Whale” at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night, gratefully acknowledging his return to acting prominence.

“I was in the wilderness and I probably should have left a trail of breadcrumbs, but you found me,” Fraser said from the stage, thanking director Darren Aronofsky for casting him in the critically lauded role. In “The Whale,” Fraser, 54, plays an English teacher housebound by severe obesity who tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter.

“The Mummy” star beat out a field of actors that included “Elvis” heartthrob Austin Butler, who took the best drama actor award at last Tuesday’s Golden Globes. Fraser said “The Whale” is about “finding the light in a dark place” and urged those suffering emotionally to take heart.

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“For anyone like Charlie, who struggles with obesity, or for anyone who just feels like you are in a dark sea: We, too, want you to know that you have strength to just get to your feet and go to the light. And good things will happen.”

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Sheryl Lee Ralph thanks Sidney Poitier for calling her ‘a damn good actress’

“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph gave a heartfelt speech about overcoming career struggles when accepting best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in “Abbott Elementary.”

Encouragement by late acting legend Sidney Poitier was crucial.

“Every back break, every no, every rejection in an industry that, when I was 19 years old, was quick to tell me there was no place for me,” Ralph recalled. “Sidney Poitier looked at me and said, ‘You’re a damn good actress.’ “

Ralph, 66, gave thanks to “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson, who accepted the award for best comedy series. 

She ended the powerful speech by urging TV viewers to “come close to the screen and listen.”

“People don’t have to like you, people don’t have to love you, they don’t even have to respect you,” she said. “But when you look in the mirror, you better love what you see!”

Jeff Bridges cites The Dude, thanks his late father, Lloyd Bridges

Jeff Bridges channeled his famed character The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” when accepting his lifetime achievement award at the Critics Choice Awards. Looking at the trophy onstage, Bridges joked, “The Dude would say of this, ‘Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.’ “

Bridges, 73, honored his family in his speech, paying tribute to his wife of 48 years, Susan, and his late father, actor Lloyd Bridges, on his birthday.

“It’s my dad’s birthday today, January 15. I’m wearing his cuff links. I wouldn’t be up here without my dad,” Bridges said, adding that his father convinced him as a reluctant young man to go into the business. “He was so right. I’m so glad I listened to the old man!”

Bridges, who was also nominated for best actor for his role in FX’s drama “The Old Man,” acknowledged he had to research his many career roles before accepting the lifetime award.

“I had to look myself up on IMDb,” Bridges said. “I’ve made a lot of movies.”

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Niecy Nash-Betts to doubters: ‘In your face!’

Niecy Nash-Betts talked about refusing to limit her acting range after winning best supporting actress in a limited series for Netflix’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.”

“I saw myself doing drama. The industry was kind, but they said, ‘Stay in your comedy lane,’ ” said Nash-Betts, 52. “Sometimes people want to leave you where they meet you. I did what I normally do: cry.”

Her mother was skeptical, but crucially supportive.

“I said, ‘Momma, don’t you think I’m a good dramatic actress?’ ” Nash recalled. “And she said, ‘Girl, I don’t.’ She said, ‘But you can be! You can find the best acting class in this town and I will work overtime to pay for it.’ “

“Thank you, Momma. All you need is one!” Nash said, before giving her doubters a dramatic, “In your face!”

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