‘The Whale’ star Brendan Fraser claims best actor at the Oscars By Reuters

© Reuters. Workers decorate Oscar statues with flowers as preparations continue for the 95th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 11, 2023. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -“The Whale” star Brendan Fraser won best actor on Sunday at an Academy Awards ceremony where Germany’s “All Quiet at the Western Front” and multiverse adventure “Everything Everywhere All at Once” battled for the coveted best picture prize.

Fraser played a severely obese man trying to reconnect with his daughter. “I’m so grateful to you,” he said to the crowd on the Dolby Theatre stage as he held his award.

A German remake of World War One epic “All Quiet” won best international feature. The movie, which streamed on Netflix (NASDAQ:), depicts the horrors of trench warfare through the eyes of a young man initially keen to join the fight.

Director Edward Berger thanked the film’s young star, Felix Kammerer, who joined him on stage.

“This was your first movie, and you carried us on your shoulders as if it was nothing,” Berger said.

Ke Huy Quan, a onetime child star who gave up acting for two decades, and Hollywood veteran Jamie Lee Curtis won supporting actor and actress for their roles in the offbeat “Everything Everywhere.”

A weeping Quan, who was born in Vietnam, kissed his gold Oscar statuette as he held it on stage in front of the biggest names in show business.

“My journey started on a boat,” Quan said. “I spent a year in a refugee camp. Somehow I ended up here on Hollywood’s biggest stage.”

As a boy, Quan starred in a 1984 “Indiana Jones” movie and “The Goonies” in 1985. The 51-year-old said he had quit acting for years because he saw little opportunity for Asian actors on the big screen.

“They say stories like this only happen in the movies,” he added. “I cannot believe it’s happening to me. This is the American dream.”

Quan’s co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, who built a career in horror films such as “Halloween,” won best supporting actress for playing a frumpy tax auditor named Deirdre Beaubeirdre.

Curtis, 64, looked upward and addressed her late parents, Academy award nominees Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. “I just won an Oscar,” she said through tears.

“Naatu Naatu,” a song from Indian movie “RRR” that created a viral dance sensation, won best original song.


A crisis response team was on hand in case of an unexpected twist. The group was formed after Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on stage last year, tarnishing the film industry’s most prestigious ceremony.

At the start of the show, two U.S. military aircraft flew over the Oscars theater, and host Jimmy Kimmel landed on the stage by parachute, in a tribute to best picture nominee “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Comedian Kimmel joked in his opening monologue about the audience reaction to Smith’s attack last year.

“If anything unpredictable or violent happens at the ceremony, just do what you did last year – nothing,” he told the crowd of A-list celebrities. “Maybe give the assailant a hug.”

Kimmel also brought a surprise guest: Jenny, the scene-stealing donkey from best picture nominee “The Banshees of Inisherin.”

Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” was named best animated feature.

The film “Navalny,” about the poisoning that nearly killed Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader, and his detention since his 2021 return to Moscow, won the Oscar for best feature documentary.

“Alexei, I am dreaming of the day when you will be free and our country will be free,” his wife, Yulia Navalnaya, said on stage. “Stay strong my love.”

The 95th Academy Awards ceremony was broadcast live on Walt Disney (NYSE:) Co’s ABC network. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hoped to move past the slap and stage a glitzy show and boost sagging TV ratings.

Ahead of the awards, nominees dressed in designer gowns and tuxedos touted their movies on a champagne carpet in place of the traditional red.

Winners are voted on by the roughly 10,000 actors, producers, directors and film craftspeople who make up the film academy.

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