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Brendan Fraser sobs as he accepts the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor: ‘I was in the wilderness.’

At the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night, a tearful Brendan Fraser accepted best actor for “The Whale,” gratefully acknowledging his return to acting prominence.

“I was in the wilderness and probably should have left a trail of breadcrumbs,” Fraser said from the stage, thanking director Darren Aronofsky for casting him in the critically acclaimed role. In “The Whale,” Fraser, 54, plays an English teacher who is housebound due to severe obesity and tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter.

The “Mummy” star beat out a field that included “Elvis” heartthrob Austin Butler, who won best drama actor at last Tuesday’s Golden Globes. “The Whale” is about “finding the light in a dark place,” according to Fraser, and he encourages those who are suffering emotionally to take heart.

“For anyone like Charlie, who struggles with obesity, or for anyone who just feels like you are in a dark sea: I want you to know that you too have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light. And wonderful things will occur.”

Fraser was asked in the backstage media room what the award meant to him. “More than I know how to say in words,” he replied, his eyes welling up.

Sheryl Lee Ralph expresses gratitude to Sidney Poitier for describing her as a “damn good actress.”

When accepting the award for best supporting actress in a comedy series for her role in “Abbott Elementary,” “Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph gave a heartfelt speech about overcoming career challenges.

The encouragement of late actor Sidney Poitier was crucial.

“Every setback, every no, every rejection in an industry that told me there was no place for me when I was 19,” Ralph recalled. “When Sidney Poitier saw me, he said, ‘You’re a damn good actress.'”

Ralph, 66, expressed gratitude to Quinta Brunson, creator and star of “Abbott Elementary,” who accepted the award for best comedy series.

She concluded her stirring speech by urging television viewers to “come close to the screen and listen.”

“People don’t have to like you, don’t have to love you, and they don’t even have to respect you,” she explained. “But you better like what you see when you look in the mirror!”

Jeff Bridges mentions The Dude and expresses gratitude to his late actor father, Lloyd Bridges.

When accepting his lifetime achievement award at the Critics Choice Awards, Jeff Bridges channelled his famous character from “The Big Lebowski,” The Dude. Bridges joked about the critics’ trophy onstage, saying, “The Dude would say of this, ‘Well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.” But I respect your viewpoint. This is fantastic.”

Bridges, 73, paid tribute to his wife of 48 years, Susan, and his late father, actor Lloyd Bridges, in his speech.

“Today is my father’s birthday, January 15. I’m dressed in his cuff links. “I wouldn’t be up here without my dad,” Bridges said, adding that as a reluctant young man, his father persuaded him to pursue acting. “He was dead on. “I’m so glad I paid attention to the old man!”

Bridges, who was also nominated for best actor for his performance in FX’s drama “The Old Man,” admitted that he had to research his many career roles before accepting the lifetime achievement award.

“I had to look my stuff up on IMDb,” Bridges admitted. “And wow, I’ve made so many movies!” Oh my goodness! “All these brief moments.”

‘In your face!’ says Niecy Nash-Betts to doubters.

After winning best supporting actress in a limited series for Netflix’s “Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story,” Niecy Nash-Betts discussed her refusal to limit her acting range.

“I imagined myself doing drama. “The industry was nice, but they told me, ‘Stay in your comedy lane,'” Nash-Betts, 52, said. “Sometimes people want to leave you right where they found you. “I did what I usually do: I cried.”

Her mother was sceptical, but most importantly, supportive.

“I asked, ‘Do you think I’m a good dramatic actress, Mom?'” Nash remembered. “‘Girl, I don’t,’ she said. ‘But you can be!’ she said. You can find the best acting class in town, and I’ll work extra hours to pay for it.’

“Thank you, Momma. “You only need one!” Nash said, before delivering a dramatic, “Get in your face!”

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