Golden Cages 2022: Best Actor


[With 2022 all wrapped up and we’ve had time to let the previous year sink in, it’s time for our fifth annual Golden Cages Awards! Over the next two weeks, the staff at Flixist will be announcing the winners in sixteen different categories that range from all different genres and categories before ultimately revealing what our best film of 2022 was. So sit back, relax, and come join us as we take one final look at 2022 and see the notable movies the year had to offer.]

If you’ve heard the term “Brennaissance” over the past couple of months, there’s a reason for it. Brendan Fraser has recently become one of the most beloved celebrities of our time. He started off in some fan-favorite blockbusters in the 90s and early 2000s, only to undergo horrible situation after horrible situation, including a divorce, an alleged sexual assault, and the death of his mother which drove him into depression. So seeing him back and in a much happier and healthier place is truly heartwarming, and the fact that he’s delivering knockout performance after knockout performance only affirms that we’re seeing him at the peak of his career.

That’s not why we’re here today. We’re here because, despite all of the negativity in his life, Fraser was able to deliver one of the most life-affirming and beautiful performances of 2022, a performance that easily nets him the 2022 Golden Cage for Best Actor. The Whale is a movie about hope. Fraser plays a man who has every reason to curse his existence and crawl into a hole of self-loathing, yet he doesn’t. Fraser’s portrayal of Charlie is someone who never lets his situation stop him. He’s a deeply scarred person who is still suffering and wishes to suffer, but he manages to find beauty in the world and in all its facets. He even forsakes his own life in order to assure that his own daughter is able to live a happy and healthy life.

It’s hard not to look at the story of The Whale’s Charlie and find some similarities to Fraser’s own life, but I think Fraser understood that and used his own experiences to craft his performance. Fraser, like Charlie, has been in dark places, losing loved ones and feeling isolated, but still manages to stay optimistic. In the world of Aronofsky’s film, that comes in the form of just being able to see his estranged daughter, while in our reality I think that Fraser feels overwhelming love and support from all of the fans who wish him nothing but positive thoughts and love.

So yes, the 2022 Golden Cage for Best Actor is undeniably Brendan Fraser. But it’s not because the man deserves such a win. It’s because even without the direct comparisons made to his own life, his performance in The Whale was simply just that good. There were other very well-regarded performances throughout the year, but none of them were as honest as what was here. Emotional honesty is one of the core principles of acting, and Fraser perfectly embodies that here.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.