At the ceremony, held in Los Angeles on Sunday (15 January), Fraser was recognised for his work in The Whale, Darren Aronofsky’s drama about a reclusive teacher who weighs 600lbs (272kg).
Fraser has received widespread praise since the film’s US release last year and is expected to receive an Academy Award nomination later this month.
Accepting his Critics Choice Award, Fraser began his address to the audience with a quote attributed to Herman Melville, telling them: “‘There are only five critics in America; the rest are asleep.’ I don’t know what it means either,” he said to laughter, adding, “but I’m so glad you woke up for me.”
The actor went on to jokingly ask where the voting panel were for his much-panned 2010 family film, Furry Vengeance, before praising the performances of his on-screen daughter, Sadie Sink.
“She’s incredible,” he said of the Stranger Things actor. “Who are you?! Your talent presages your years. It took me 32 years to get here!”
Later, he thanked Aronofsky for nurturing his talent in this role, which marked his return to the entertainment industry after a decade-long hiatus.
“I was in the wilderness and I probably should’ve left a trail of breadcrumbs,” Fraser said told the director. “But you found me... and like all the best directors, you merely just showed me where to go to get to where I needed to be.”
Fraser concluded his speech with encouragement for anyone in need of help to get out of a dark mental space.
“If you, like a guy like Charlie, who I played in this movie, in any way struggle with obesity, or you just feel like you’re in a dark sea, I want you to know that if you too can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen.”
Fraser’s rousing words caused figures such as Kate Hudson and Abbott Elementary stars Sheryl Lee Ralph and Lisa Ann Walt to cry while applauding him.
Meanwhile, Sadie Sink and Warren Beatty were seen on their feet in a standing ovation.
On social media, many have responded to Fraser’s speech with high praise. One person wrote on Twitter: “This guy deserves the world. I loved his performance and I hope we get to see more of him now.”
“I’m so happy he’s getting his flowers,” wrote another, while an additional fan commented: “Brendan Fraser deserves all the good things that are happening for him and more.”
The Whale will be released in UK cinemas on 3 February. You can read The Independent’s four-star review here.