Brendan Fraser Tearfully Accepts SAG Award for Lead Film Actor for 'The Whale'

The actor was recognized at the 29th annual ceremony, honoring the best performances in film and TV of the past year.

On Sunday, Brendan Fraser took home the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. The 54-year-old star beat out Adam Sandler, Austin Butler, Bill Nighy and Colin Farrell to take home the trophy for his powerful performance in The Whale, and was already in tears as he took the stage to accept the award.

"I'm smiling and breathing, that's half the job!" he joked with the crowd as he took a deep breath.

"I will treasure this, but never more than how I treasured... my SAG card that I earned in 1991," Fraser shared. "It made me feel like I belonged. We're actors, we all want to belong to a tribe, and that's where I found that."

"If you told that guy back then that I'd be standing right here right now, I would not have believed you," he continued, thanking his children for their strength and his Whale co-stars Hong Chau, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton for their support while making the harrowing drama.

Fraser also praised The Whale director Darren Aronofsky and writer Samuel D. Hunter for giving him "the role of my life." 

"He's someone who is on a raft of regrets, but he's in a sea of hope," he noted of his character, Charlie. "I've been in that sea, and I've rode that wave lately, and it's been powerful and good, and I've also had that wave smash me into the ocean floor."

Fraser ended his speech with a promise that things will happen if you "put one foot in front of the other" and simply "have courage."

The SAG Award marks the actor's second-ever win, after taking home the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture prize for Crash in 2006. It also is his latest accolade for The Whale, following the Spotlight Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Best Actor win at the Critics Choice Movie Awards. 

He also earned a Best Actor nomination for the upcoming 95th Academy Awards, which will be handed out in March. 

The 2023 SAG Awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. The ceremony will stream live on Netflix's YouTube channel. See the full list of winners here and stay tuned to for complete SAG Awards coverage.