Brendan Fraser's epic comeback: How the 90s star has risen to awards season ... trends now

Brendan Fraser's epic comeback: How the 90s star has risen to awards season ... trends now
Brendan Fraser's epic comeback: How the 90s star has risen to awards season ... trends now

Brendan Fraser's epic comeback: How the 90s star has risen to awards season ... trends now

Brendan Fraser has been hailed as a comeback king after dominating the 2023 awards season following his acclaimed performance in The Whale.

The actor, 54, has been praised by critics for his 'sensational' comeback starring as 600lb English literature lecturer who wants to reconnect with his teenage daughter.

The emotional film received a standing ovation at Venice Film Festival and has dominated the awards season, catapulting Brendan back into the limelight in what fans have called a 'Brenaissance'.

Sensational: Brendan Fraser has been hailed as a comeback king after winning Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards (pictured) following his acclaimed performance in The Whale

Sensational: Brendan Fraser has been hailed as a comeback king after winning Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards (pictured) following his acclaimed performance in The Whale

Comeback: The actor, 54, has been hailed by critics for his 'sensational' comeback starring as 600lb English literature lecturer who wants to reconnect with his teenage daughter

Comeback: The actor, 54, has been hailed by critics for his 'sensational' comeback starring as 600lb English literature lecturer who wants to reconnect with his teenage daughter

He has already picked up the Best Actor gong at the Critics Choice Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe, but missed out to Austin Butler for his performance as Elvis Presley.

Continuing to rise to acclaim, Brendan has also received a Best Actor nod for the 2023 BAFTAs and has most recently scored a nomination in the same category for this year's Oscars.

It is quite the career comeback for the star, who battled depression and disappeared from the limelight after making an allegation of sexual assault in 2003, while he was also in and out of hospital for health issues.

As he secures himself an Oscars nomination in the Best Actor category... MailOnline looks back at how Brendan has made an epic career comeback. 

Wow! He has already picked up the Best Actor gong at the Critics Choice Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe, but missed out to Austin Butler

Wow! He has already picked up the Best Actor gong at the Critics Choice Awards and was nominated for a Golden Globe, but missed out to Austin Butler

Star: As he secures himself an Oscars nomination in the Best Actor category... MailOnline looks back at how the George Of The Jungle star made an epic career comeback

Star: As he secures himself an Oscars nomination in the Best Actor category... MailOnline looks back at how the George Of The Jungle star made an epic career comeback 

Big career break

After making his film debut as a sailor in 1991 film Dogfight alongside River Phoenix, Brendan's big break came the following year in Encino Man.

He played the character of Link, a caveman who had been frozen for centuries and is thawed by two high school students who teach him about modern life.

Following the success of the film, he was cast in children's favourite film franchises George of the Jungle and The Mummy.

Big break: After making his film debut as a sailor in 1991 film Dogfight alongside River Phoenix, Brendan's big break came the following year in Encino Man

Big break: After making his film debut as a sailor in 1991 film Dogfight alongside River Phoenix, Brendan's big break came the following year in Encino Man 

Fame: He played the character of Link, a caveman who had been frozen for centuries and is thawed by two high school students who teach him about modern life

Fame: He played the character of Link, a caveman who had been frozen for centuries and is thawed by two high school students who teach him about modern life 

His unbelievably chiseled physique also saw his garner a reputation as a Hollywood heartthrob as he thrashed around the sets performing stunts in high-action roles.

Speaking from his home in Bedford, New York, he said the physical toll of his roles made him feel like a workhorse from the Orwell novel Animal Farm.

After rising to fame through the action-packed films, Brendan described his buff physique as resembling 'a walking steak'.

George Of The Jungle

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Brendan became a household name after starring in George Of The Jungle.

He starred in the 1997 Disney film George of the Jungle as a human dressed only in a loincloth who was raised by gorillas in the Ugandan jungle, which was based on the popular 1960s animated TV series of the same name. 

Despite earning mixed reviews, the movie - which also starred Leslie Mann, Thomas Haden Church and Richard Roundtree - was a box office smash, raking in over $170 million globally against a $55 million budget.

Iconic: During the 1990s and early 2000s, Brendan was arguably best known for starring in George Of The Jungle

Iconic: During the 1990s and early 2000s, Brendan was arguably best known for starring in George Of The Jungle 

It did later earn a sequel, which went straight-to-video, with Christopher Showerman replacing Brendan as George and Julie Benz replacing Mann as Ursula, with Thomas Haden Church, John Cleese and Keith Scott reprising their roles. 

When asked about the sequel in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Brendan referenced a scene in the 2003 follow-up where Disney seemingly referenced their own lowball offer to him.

'I think George got a remake, and they built a joke into it that the studio was too cheap to hire me, which wasn't inaccurate,' he said.

Brendan revealed in December the grueling diet he subjected himself to in order to achieve his sculpted physique on George Of The Jungle.

In order to get the body for the role, he told Variety he 'starved' himself so much he could not remember his PIN 'because my brain was misfiring'. 

He made the admission to his Airheads co-star Adam Sandler as they reunited to chat for the publication's Actors On Actors series.

He pointed out why his figure was so important to the movie, saying: 'The wardrobe was there was no wardrobe.'

Knowing that he would be dressed only in a loincloth, Brendan found himself 'waxed' and 'starved of carbohydrates.'

He shared: 'I would drive home after work and stop to get something to eat. I needed some cash one day, and I went to the ATM, and I couldn’t remember my PIN number because my brain was misfiring. Banging on the thing. I didn’t eat that night.'

Role: He starred in the 1997 Disney film George of the Jungle as a human dressed only in a loincloth who was raised by gorillas in the Ugandan jungle

Role: He starred in the 1997 Disney film George of the Jungle as a human dressed only in a loincloth who was raised by gorillas in the Ugandan jungle

Huge success of The Mummy 

Brendan went on to star alongside Rachel Weisz in The Mummy in 1999 and played  adventurer Rick O'Connell in a total of in three of the movies.

He famously starred in 1999's The Mummy, 2001's The Mummy Returns and 2008's The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  

Brendan shot to stardom in The Mummy, which made an impressive $416.4million against an $80million budget. 

Earlier this month, Brendan told Deadline's The Actor's Side that he would not be against returning to the franchise

Adventure: Brendan went on to star alongside Rachel Weisz in The Mummy in 1999 and played adventurer Rick O'Connell in a total of in three of the movies

Adventure: Brendan went on to star alongside Rachel Weisz in The Mummy in 1999 and played adventurer Rick O'Connell in a total of in three of the movies 

Blockbuster fame: Brendan shot to stardom in The Mummy, which made an impressive $416.4million against an $80million budget

Blockbuster fame: Brendan shot to stardom in The Mummy, which made an impressive $416.4million against an $80million budget

He said: 'It's kind of an open-ended question for some time now. I'm not opposed to it, I don't know an actor who doesn't want a job.

'I don't think I've been this famous and unsalaried at the same time in my professional life so sign me up!'

String of blockbusters

After becoming a household name, Brendan secured a number of high profile roles in movies across the 2000s.  

He starred in sci-fi movie Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 2008, and portrayed lead character Mo in children's fantasy movie Inkheart, based on a book by Cornelia Funke.

Household name: After becoming a household name, Brendan secured a number of high profile roles in movies across the 2000s, including Journey to the Centre of the Earth

Household name: After becoming a household name, Brendan secured a number of high profile roles in movies across the 2000s, including Journey to the Centre of the Earth

He also starred in a slew of projects including Encino Man, School Ties, Gods and Monsters, The Quiet American, Crash, Texas Rising, The Affair, Doom Patrol, and No Sudden Move.

Sexual assault allegation

Brendan said he believed he had been blacklisted from Hollywood after he claimed he had been sexually assaulted by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, in 2003.

Speaking to GQ in 2018, he alleged he was leaving a luncheon hosted by the HFPA at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood when Berk approached him.

He said: 'His left hand reaches around, grabs my a** cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.'

Claims: Brendan said he believed he had been blacklisted from Hollywood after he claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Philip Berk in 2003

Claims: Brendan said he believed he had been blacklisted from Hollywood after he claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Philip Berk in 2003

He added: 'I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.'

He claimed he was able to remove Berk's hand before running out of the hotel and going straight home. He told his then wife, Afton Smith, about the incident but never made it public.

Instead, his reps asked Berk for a written apology, which he provided, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Speaking to GQ about the claims, Berk acknowledged he had written a letter of apology to him but insisted he had not done anything wrong and dismissed his account as 'a total fabrication'.

Allegations: Speaking to GQ in 2018, he alleged he was leaving a luncheon hosted by the HFPA at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood when Berk shook his hand

Allegations: Speaking to GQ in 2018, he alleged he was leaving a luncheon hosted by the HFPA at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood when Berk shook his hand

After Brendan reported the claim to the HFPA he said he believed he may have been 'blacklisted' and was rarely invited back to the Golden Globe awards.

Depression and breakdown of his marriage 

Brendan said the alleged incident had caused him to 'retreat' from the limelight as he spiralled into depression.

He described feeling 'not worthy' as the decade wore on, leading him to take roles he was less proud of. 

As well as retreating from the spotlight in his career, his marriage was also falling apart.

He divorced Afton Smith, who he shares three sons Griffin, Leland and Holden with, in 2007 after nine years of marriage. As part of the settlement, he was ordered to pay $50,000 a month in spousal support.

Split: He divorced Afton Smith, who he shares three sons Griffin, Leland and Holden with, in 2007 after nine years of marriage

Split: He divorced Afton Smith, who he shares three sons Griffin, Leland and Holden with, in 2007 after nine years of marriage 

But in 2013, he sought an amendment to the agreement asking to pay less, claiming he wasn't earning the same enormous paycheques he had received in the 1990s during his heyday and couldn't afford the payments.

Being cast in The Affair  

In 2016, his career picked up when he was cast in Showtime drama The Affair, starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson. 

Fraser played cruel prison guard John Gunther in the third season of the show - although the audience is unsure whether or not he is real or a figment of West's imagination.

While promoting the role in 2016, Fraser sat down for an interview with AOL - but his demeanour during the chat raised alarm with his fans. 

Return: In 2016, his career picked up when he was cast in Showtime drama The Affair, starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson

Return: In 2016, his career picked up when he was cast in Showtime drama The Affair, starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson 

As he stumbled over his words and appeared somewhat spaced out, people began to worry he was 'depressed'. 

However Fraser later revealed his mother had passed away from cancer just four days before he filmed the interview. 

He said he hadn't done any press for a role in a long time and added he was 'in mourning' when the interview took place.

Starring with Hollywood stars Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank

By 2018, Brendan's career appeared to be back on track as he starred in FX series Trust alongside Hollywood heavyweights Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank.

He played James Fletcher Chase, a former CIA agent who was hired by billionaire J. Paul Getty in 1973 to find Getty's kidnapped grandson.

TV: By 2018, Brendan's career appeared to be back on track as he starred in FX series Trust alongside Hollywood heavyweights Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank

TV: By 2018, Brendan's career appeared to be back on track as he starred in FX series Trust alongside Hollywood

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