See Brendan Fraser Transform Into His Character for 'The Whale' in Behind-the-Scenes Video

The Academy Award-nominated actor is unrecognizable in Darren Aronofsky's film

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Brendan Fraser in The Whale (2022). Photo: A24/YouTube

For Brendan Fraser, getting into character for his role in The Whale took more than just mental preparation and acting chops.

The Instagram account for the Academy Award-nominated movie, directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), posted a behind-the-scenes clip of the actor, 54, as he transformed into his character Charlie, a 600-lb. writer trying to right the wrongs of his life.

The prosthetics — which earned the film an Oscar nod in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category — included layers of fake skin and an entire facial makeover complete with hair implants. The actor sat patiently, scrolling through his phone, while the team did their extensive work on him.

Fraser also became a first-time Oscar nominee for his performance as Charlie — a feat he was "absolutely overjoyed" over.

"I am deeply grateful to The Academy for this recognition and for recognizing Hong Chau's beautiful performance and Adrien Morot's incredible makeup," Fraser shared in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

"I wouldn't have this nomination without [director] Darren Aronofsky, [writer] Samuel D. Hunter, A24 and the extraordinary cast and crew who gave me the gift of Charlie," the actor continued. "A gift I certainly didn't see coming, but it's one that has profoundly changed my life. THANK YOU!"

The Whale Director Darren Aronofsky Says Backlash to Brendan Fraser's Casting 'Makes No Sense to Me'

The star received a similar nod from the Golden Globes, but slammed the show after previously accusing former Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Philip Berk of sexually assaulting him in 2003 — and did not show up to the ceremony, nor desire the award, which he compared to a "hood ornament." Berk has denied the accusation.

Fraser, however, felt entirely differently about the Oscars, sharing with PEOPLE the feeling of anticipation he feels for the awards ceremony.

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"I've been to the Oscars twice before, and I know the anticipation that builds up to that moment when before the envelope is opened, and there's something unique about it," he said.

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Fraser continued, "Because in that microsecond between when the presenter opens the envelope and speaks the name, something interesting happens when you see the presenter acknowledge who it is, and for a momentary tiny moment they know before they say anything, and it's as if suddenly everything becomes timeless."

Tune into the Oscars live on ABC on March 12 at 8pm ET.

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