It's history time, kids! Gather round. Did you know that The Elephant Man, currently on Broadway with Bradley Cooper, is indirectly responsible for the Academy's makeup Oscar? No, not that kind of make up Oscar ... though the Academy gives those all the time, too (why, hello Ms. Julianne Moore "Ms. February 2015"!) and maybe Bradley Cooper will get one of those someday?
I digress. In the stage version of The Elephant Man the lead actor traditionally performs while wearing no special makeup; he merely acts deformity. But that stylization hasn't yet been tried on film. When it came time to make the film version in 1980, David Lynch, no stranger to depicting deformity without prosthetics -- deformity of the soul at least -- opted for makeup effects. People bitched about the lack of Oscar recognition since The Elephant Man was an Oscar hit (8 nominations) and the very next year we had our category! Unfortunately for the The Elephant Man's team Christopher Tucker and Wally Schneiderman and all, it was too late. Those makeup artists never won a Makeup Oscar or even the other kind of Make up Oscar for overdue peeps.
Once there was an official category a young pony-tailed prosthetics genius named Rick Baker immediately began his relentless reign, hogging 11 nominations and 7 statues starting with An American Werewolf in London. The Makeup prize continued on its weirdly lyncathropic, excruciatingly unstable number of nominee (0,2,3,4) effects-obsessed path for decades thereafter.