Brendan Fraser is enjoying some of the best reviews — and some of the biggest awards buzz — of his entire career for his work in the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film The Whale. Oddsmakers have him as a near-lock to receive a nomination for Best Actor at the Academy Awards, and many are predicting he could very well win. Typically, an actor in that kind of frontrunner position would strategically attend as many pre-Oscar events as possible; giving gracious acceptance speeches, shaking hands, hyping their film and their work.
But while Fraser would surely love an Academy Award, he has made it clear he will not appear at one key precursor to the Oscars: The Golden Globes. Although beset by scandals over their membership and lack of transparency in recent years, the Globes (which are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) will return with a live telecast on NBC next January.
Fraser, however, will not be there, even if the Globes nominate him for an award. His objections have less to do with the Globes’ recent controversies, and more with his own alleged mistreatment by the group and one of its former members. In 2018, Fraser claimed that the HFPA’s former president, Philip Berk, had groped him at a Globes event back in 2003. After going public with his accusations, Fraser told GQ he was interviewed by an “independent investigator” and asked to sign a joint press release with the organization — but Berk (who denied Fraser’s claims) was not disciplined for his alleged actions. (Supposedly, the statement would have read “the evidence supports that [Berk’s behavior] was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance.”
Fraser refused to sign the statement, and now says the organization “never apologized” for the incident. (The HFPA told GQ they’ve apologized twice. Berk was only expelled from the group in 2021 after “sharing an article decrying Black Lives Matter as a ‘racist hate movement’ in an email to the membership.”) Whatever the exact details, Fraser is certain that he will not attend this year’s Globes whether they choose to honor him or not, saying “I have more history with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association than I have respect for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.”
He added “It’s because of the history that I have with them. And my mother didn’t raise a hypocrite. You can call me a lot of things, but not that.”
It will be interesting to see who does attend the Golden Globes in 2023. In the past, the Globes were one of the most well-attended awards shows of the season, behind only the Academy Awards, despite the fact that the group’s membership was tiny and largely anonymous. Whether it is in solidarity with Brendan Fraser, or because of the organization’s other controversies, there are plenty of reasons for filmmakers and artists not to go this year. But that may not stop some (or most) from attending anyway.
The Whale is scheduled to open in theaters on December 9.