Andra Day lost almost 40 pounds to play the iconic jazz singer in the 2021 film The United States vs Billie Holiday, which earned her her first Oscar nomination, for Best Actress in a Leading Role, at this year's upcoming ceremony.
"I was originally 163 pounds when I started, and I got down to 124," the star, known for her 2015 hit single "Rise Up," told W magazine in a February interview. "I don't necessarily recommend but to me, I didn't want my body to look like a gym body of 2020 or 2019 at the time. For me, it was important having a period body."
She continued, "At first, I started by just shrinking my caloric intake, of course, and then exercising as well. But honestly, I did kind of starve myself a bit when I was on set."
Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto both lost an extreme amount of weight to play AIDS patients in Dallas Buyers Club, for which they each won their own first Oscars. And Christian Bale has both gained and lost an extreme amount of weight for movie roles such as The Fighter—which earned him his first Oscar, American Hustle and Vice. Since then, the actor has vowed to stop putting his body through the ringer for his career.
"I've become a little more boring now because I'm older and I feel if I keep doing what I've done in the past, I'm gonna die," Bale told E! News in 2019. "So I prefer not to die."
With the help of makeup artists and costume designers, Charlize Theron famously changed her entire physical appearance to portray a real-life serial killer in the 2003 film Monster and won her first Oscar for her chilling performance. This year, Glenn Close is nominated for an Oscar for the eighth time, for her role in Hillbilly Elegy. Prosthetics were used to transform her face for her leading role.
The 2021 Oscars will take place this Sunday, April 25.
Look back at the actors who underwent major transformations in films that earned them Oscar nominations or wins: