Brendan Fraser won the Oscar for best actor on Sunday for his performance as 600-pound English teacher Charlie in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale — and he got all choked up during his acceptance speech. Despite the tears, he did not hold back on the whale puns, peppering his speech with all things nautical, seafaring, and Moby Dick-esque.

Brendan Fraser won the Oscar — here’s his speech

“I thank the academy for this honor and for our studio, A24, for making such a bold film. And I’m grateful to Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale,” Fraser, a first-time Oscar winner and nominee, told the crowd through tears.

“I started in this business 30 years ago and things — they didn’t come easily to me, but there was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time, until it stopped,” Fraser continued later in his speech.

“And I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgment, because it couldn’t be done without my cast. It’s been like I’ve been on a diving expedition at the bottom of the ocean, and the air on the line to the surface is on a launch being watched over by some people in my life, like my sons, Holden and Leland and Griffin. I love you, Griffy.”

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A whale of a comeback year

This win marks the crowning jewel atop a huge comeback year for Fraser, who had stepped away from the limelight of Hollywood for the last decade or so. Though he’s steadily appeared in smaller TV roles, The Whale is his first really huge, major motion picture in years.

Making another huge comeback this year is Fraser’s 1992 Encino Man co-star Ke Huy Quan, who won the Oscar for best supporting actor for his role in best picture-winner Everything Everywhere All at Once, which swept most of the major categories.

Fraser also gave some props to screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter who wrote the stage play that The Whale is based on, calling him “our lighthouse.”

To his fellow nominees, Fraser said, “Gentleman, you laid your whale-sized hearts bare so that we could see into your souls like no one else could do, and it is my honor to be named alongside you in this category.”

He also shouted out his co-star, Hong Chau, who was nominated for best supporting actress. The award ended up going to Jamie Lee Curtis for her performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

“I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depth of the talent of Hong Chau,” Fraser said.

It makes sense that Fraser was so adept at playing an English teacher, considering how eloquent he was in his acceptance speech. He went on to thank a few other people in his life, including his manager, Joanna Colonna, and his girlfriend, Jeanne Moore.

Watch Brendan Fraser’s full speech above.

Main Image: Brendan Fraser in The Whale. Photo credit: A24.