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The "Makeup and Hairstyling" Seven

Another day, another Oscar decision. The Academy's Makeup branch has narrowed the field in their annual bakeoffs and selected the following seven films as the best of the best in the Oscar category of Makeup and Hairstyling. They'll be whittled down to three for Nomination Morning on January 10th.

Will it be Les Miz's abused poor or Lincoln's bewigged politicians for the Hair and Makeup Oscar?

They are:

  • Hitchcock
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • Lincoln
  • Looper
  • Men in Black 3
  • Les Misérables
  • Snow White and the Huntsman 

HAPPINESS! I'm shocked ("Best" usually meaning "Most" with Oscar) but ever so relieved that I'll never have to look at those hideous faces from Cloud Atlas again; Tom Hanks' yellow buck teeth and various facial hairdonts will haunt me forever even without clip reels!

Among these potential nominees I think Les Misérables and Lincoln are obviously worthy choices for films with extensive and great spell-casting in this particular arena of movie magic. I'm also glad that my early pundit insistence that Snow White and the Huntsmen would be taken seriously by the guilds has come to pass despite some people feeling I was high at the time.

INDIFFERENCE! I don't really thrill to the makeup work in Hitchcock, but I realize that that might have more to do with my issues with Sir Anthony Hopkins who isn't particularly gifted at mimicry, than at the prosthetics aimed to create the illusion of the ressurection of The Master of Suspense. 

SADNESS! I had hoped against hope to see Holy Motors among the actual nominees on January 10th since so much of the film's narrative involves Denis Lavant's makeup applications. (I hoped for it in the way I hoped for The Devil Wears Prada to win a rare contemporary nomination for costume design but that time there was a happy ending.) And I even had a only-in-my-imagination debate about who would get the nomination if The Paperboy made it to the finals. After all those statements about Lee Daniels forcing Nicole Kidman to do her own hair and makeup, would Nicole Kidman be eligible for two Oscar nominations for her latest flirtation with her own bonafide genius?

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Reader Comments (7)

I had braced myself for The Hunger Games not making the cut thanks to your post about industry reaction to the satire. It's a poor reaction, especially when hyper-realistic camouflage done in body paint is a key part of the plot. And if we're talking the typical most=best approach, you don't get more opportunity to do makeup than a futuristic war film with many casualties and fancy future styles.

Holy Motors is a disappointment, but I'm not particularly surprised there, either. If they couldn't even get on the long list for Original Song, what chance did they have at Makeup/Hairstyling? Then again, the makeup work is the star of the film and an actual part of the narrative. It seems foolish that it would miss out there.

I'd like to see Looper get in. The prosthetics used to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like young Bruce Willis were good, but the very realistic injury effects were better. The use of simple scarring as a storytelling device was excellent.

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

I really thought HOLY MOTORS had nothing to worry about given this branch has gone with titles like Il Divo and Gainsbourg. Sigh.

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Not that I was counting on it making the shortlist, but I'm really puzzled about the absence of 'The Impossible' in the technical categories. I mean, say what you want about the movie, but it is extremely well made. The makeup is top notch (injuries, scratches, dirt), the art direction is mindblowing (much of it was produced in studio, not with CGI), even the effects (yes, I know they last for about 10 minutes, but still) are seemless... No way that it was going to sneak into the best picture race, but I thought it could make a showing with the crafts... Guess I was wrong, and it's a shame, taking into acount that they've made a 30m € movie look like a 100m+...

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJavier

Anyone think that Rick Baker gets lucky number thirteen for Men in Black 3?

December 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeoffrey

The abscence of Holy Motors and The Impossible in this particular category takes away the joy for me. Yes, fine, give the Oscar to Lincoln or Les Miz already. Don't ever bother to vote.

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

I really thought the makeup on JGL in Looper was a J.Edgar-style miscalculation, and the only thing I really didn't like in a movie I fully loved. He didn't even look the same from scene to scene, as though the movie was making different choices about the cosmetics regimen as filming was still underway. Interesting what Robert G. says in the comments here, though, so I'll keep thinking about that.

December 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

What a fascinating career it would be indeed, to do hair and make up in Hollywood. Years ago, a young man did my hair and his goal was getting to work in Hollywood because he wanted to meet "Charlie's Angels" Jaclyn Smith, LOL. Maybe he did ! Interesting website. I'm a fine arts painter. Hmmm. Maybe I could do make up too.

November 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlorri

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