The Oscar Project
This is one of the newer awards at the Oscars, having only been given out since 1981. Like the costume category I covered yesterday, there are typically two types of films that get recognized in this category. The first is anything in science fiction or fantasy, including comic book adaptations. Films like Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Men in Black, or Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring come to mind here.
The other main category is period pieces and/or films about famous individuals from the past. Braveheart ticks both of those boxes, and more recently we have seen wins from films like The Darkest Hour, Vice, and Bombshell. The key for these films is using the makeup to transform a usually well known actor or actress, and make them unrecognizable as themselves while they inhabit the role of the famous historical (or contemporary) figure
All Quiet on the Western Front
This is the first nomination for Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová. Looking at this through the lens of films like 1917 and Saving Private Ryan, both of those films received nominations in this category, but did not take home the award. That said, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for this to win, as we have seen war films recognized with a win here in the past, including Braveheart, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (yes, I would consider it a war film set in a fantasy world), and The Darkest Hour, though the last one was nominated less for the war injury makeup and more for helping Gary Oldman disappear into the role of Winston Churchill.
Like I said with my discussion of this film in relation to visual effects last week, you almost don’t notice the makeup here, and that is part of what makes it work. That said, there are plenty of instances in the film where characters are made up with ash, dirt, and blood on their faces and bodies, and that work is very well done.
This nomination is almost entirely a result of the incredible job the makeup artists did transforming Colin Farrell into The Penguin for this film. This if the third nomination for Naomi Donne (1917 and Cruella), second for Mike Marino (Coming 2 America) and first for Mike Fontaine, but their work on Farrell is astounding. If you haven’t seen the movie and look at the image below, you’d be hard pressed to find Farrell anywhere in that picture. But of course, there was more than just Penguin’s look that went into the makeup for the film. We were introduced to Robert Pattinson’s wild hair and heavy eyeshadowed look after he takes off his cowl and suit. There is also Zoë Kravitz’s feline look for portraying Seline Kyle. Ultimately though, if this film wins, it will be for the work on the Penguin face.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
This film doesn’t necessarily have the initial expectation of appearing in this category, but more than most of Marvel’s other films, there is a variety of hair and makeup work here that truly makes it worth of recognition. Camille Friend receives her first Oscar nomination while Joel Harlow receives his fourth (a win for Star Trek, nominations for The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Beyond) and they had their work cut out for them creating unique styles for the various cultures in the film. The hair and makeup of Wakanda had been established in the first film back in 2018, but this film also saw the introduction of the culture of Talokan which is deeply influenced by Mesoamerican cultures. Not only do we get to see the cultural influences in these characters, but they are also blue skinned, something that has to be matched just right for every scene by what I’m sure was a large team of makeup artists.
Within the world of Wakanda, we get to see a variety of hairstyles, from Shuri’s (Leticia Wright) afro mohawk, to Nakia’s (Lupita Nyong’o) long braids. Makeup becomes even more important for Okoye (Danai Gurira) and the other members of the Dora Milaje to ensure that their strength is on display with the patterns on their heads. All said, there is a strong case to be made for this film winning the award, especially with focus on both makeup AND hair.
The team of makeup and hairstylists for this film had one of the bigger challenges this year, turning Austin Butler into one of the most famous musicians, if not people, of the 20th century. Mark Coulier and Aldo Signoretti both receive their fourth nominations for this film with Coulier winning for The Iron Lady and The Grand Budapest Hotel, while their co-nominee Jason Baird receives his first nomination. The team had to re-create not only a famous face and age that look over the period covered in the film, but also re-create Elvis’s famous hairstyle, something that has been done thousands, if not millions of times by impersonators around the world. Of course, Elvis himself is not the only famous person in the film. Tom Hanks had to wear plenty of prosthetics to portray Colonel Tom Parker, and Olivia DeJonge stuns as Priscilla Presley, often with hair just as big as her husband. I definitely see this film having strong potential to win this category, and might end up on a run with multiple nominations intechnical categories in addition to Butler’s Best Actor nomination and the Best Picture nod.
Let's face it, like The Batman, this film is nominated primarily due to the work done on Brendan Fraser to make him into the reclusive college professor Charlie. First time nominees Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley join second time nominee Adrien Morot (Barney’s Version) in the nomination for this film and based on some recent history, there is a decent chance they all receive their first Oscar win this year.
Goldderby.com released an article last week on the trend of makeup and hairstyling teams winning their award when nominated with the actors or actresses they made up for the film. The only other film with an actor or actress nominated is Elvis, and while there is a chance for Butler to win, everything is pointing to Fraser taking home the Oscar this year. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues following last year’s win in this category for The Eyes of Tammy Faye which also saw Jessica Chastain win the Best Actress award.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?