Yes, the Star of ‘The Mummy’ Could Win an Oscar

- Cynthia Littleton Ramin Setoodeh

“The Whale” is poised to be a dominant force this Oscar season. At the Venice Film Festival last month, the Darren Aronofsky-directed drama was met with a rapturous standing ovation. Its lead actor, Brendan Fraser, burst into tears — witnessed 17.6 million times and counting in a viral video of the moment captured by Variety. Suddenly, the star of “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy” became the object of sympatheti­c cheers across the internet, and now he’s possibly the frontrunne­r to win the best actor Oscar in March.

In this week’s cover story, Fraser and Aronofsky discuss mounting a film adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about a 600-pound gay man desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter (played by Sadie Sink). Their first full-length conversati­on in print is a quintessen­tial Variety cover, but it’s especially appropriat­e this week: Fraser lives in upstate New York, and Aronofsky’s company Protozoa Pictures is based in Chinatown. A24, which is releasing “The Whale” in theaters, is known for the NYC swagger that befits a top indie distributo­r. In other words, this is a perfect New York story for one of our favorite issues of the year.

Our newsroom has been working overtime to bring you Variety’s latest valentine to New York. This recurring franchise, which launched in 2016, returns to celebrate a city that can’t be stopped. Spirits are high back East as, after two and a half years of COVID precaution­s, the arts are coming back in force.

In this issue, edited by Brent Lang and Trish Deitch, we chronicle New York’s traditions and its reinventio­ns for an era of revival. We take you inside some of Broadway’s big new production­s, chronicle the 40th anniversar­y of a beloved comedy club and monitor what investors are saying about entertainm­ent industry stocks.

We’re also delighted to bring back our annual New Power of New York List (with guest essays from Hugh Jackman, Cynthia Nixon and Mindy Kaling), where we celebrate the city’s artists, actors and storytelle­rs we think you should know.

And we’re excited to be able to once again throw a party for this year’s class of talented thinkers. We’ll see you next week in person to raise a glass to a stellar year — and to making a brand-new start of it in new New York.

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