The Whale gets six-minute standing ovation at Venice amid star Brendan Fraser's Oscar buzz

Brendan Fraser
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Whale impressed Venice Film Festival audiences with its screening ending with a six-minute standing ovation. Darren Aronofsky's new psychological thriller about a house-bound man living with severe obesity premiered at the festival.

Lead actor Brendan Fraser received a special standing ovation from the crowd as the credits rolled. In a video shared from the screening, he can be seen looking noticeably emotional as the crowd cheered him on. According to Variety, at one point, Fraser attempted to leave but the cheering from the crowd kept him in the room as he gave a bow to the audience. 

Fraser plays Charlie in The Whale, a 600-pound man living with severe obesity. The film follows him as he tries to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter (played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink) while suffering from the illness.  

The first reviews from Venice have been positive, with the movie fueling Oscar buzz for Fraser’s performance. Our own Total Film review of The Whale called it a "career best" from the actor which will likely see him "going home with gold come awards season". 

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The outpouring of support for Fraser wasn’t limited to the screening room either. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson shared a tribute to his former co-star. "Man this makes me so happy to see this beautiful ovation for Brendan," he wrote on Twitter. "He supported me coming into his Mummy Returns franchise for my first ever role, which kicked off my Hollywood career. Rooting for all your success brother and congrats to my bud Darren Aronofsky."

The Whale marks a Hollywood comeback for Fraser, who was one of the go-to action stars in the nineties and noughties when he led movies like George of the Jungle and The Mummy franchise. However, he hasn’t starred in many leading roles since, aside from some direct-to-DVD movies. 

Coming up, Fraser has a part in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. He was due to star as the main villain in the Warner Bros. Batgirl movie as well, but the film was canceled by the studio in post-production.

The Whale is released on December 9, 2022. For other new releases, check out our guide to all of the upcoming movies you need to know about.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.