Kieran, here. The three films nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the Oscars this are an interesting bunch. The Academy had a lot of options to choose from and it almost feels miraculous that they didn’t default nominate things like The Danish Girl or Black Mass, which (questions of merit aside) are practically begging the viewer to notice the makeup work in both cases. Even if they’re not yours, it’s a respectable crop of nominees. An aside: if we’re going to get five original song nominees every year no matter what, why only three nominees in this category? Curious…
Mad Max: Fury Road – Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, Damian Martin
Previous Work: A lot of features with both George Miller and Baz Luhrmann, but as supervisors (makeup supervisors don’t get nominated, so they weren’t cited when Moulin Rouge! was nominated in 2001)
How They Got Nominated: It almost feels like a silly thing to ponder when looking at the rich tapestry of character designs populating Mad Max: Fury Road. In a way, it could have all felt very random and directionless, but manages to feel cohesive in an “organized chaos” kind of way. It all feels of a piece, even if the makeup work varies greatly from character-to-character. Lesley Vanderwalt has stated that Miss Giddy was the character who took the longest to create, with her intricate, other-worldly body etchings.
The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Love Larson, Eva Von Bahr
Previous Work: Many Swedish films, though they did work on David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (not the original Swedish language version, oddly enough).
How They Got Nominated: Our Alone, Yet Not Alone nominee of 2015 in that “Who? For what?” kind of way. Few were predicting this to get in, though we probably should have been. Old age makeup is to the makeup branch what gunfire is to the sound branch—its mere presence in a film automatically makes it a contender. Not to say that there’s undeserving makeup work at play in The 100 Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (it’s on Amazon for anyone who wants to check it out). The old age makeup here is…about as good as old age makeup should look in a major motion picture. It’s not wholly convincing in terms of believability, nor is it Benjamin Button-level absurd in how over-the-top it is. And (just in case you were wondering) this film has not replaced Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? as the longest title of an Academy Award-nominated film.
The Revenant – Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman, Robert A. Pandini
Previous Work: Siân Grigg is basically Leonardo DiCaprio’s J. Roy Helland. He’s been his makeup artist on every film since Titanic. If the campaign is not playing up this angle already, they really should be. And here's hoping Leo thanks him in his speech.
How They Got Nominated: The Academy clearly liked The Revenant a whole lot. But, even setting aside the films massive nomination tally, there is good makeup work going on here. In fact, of all The Revenant’s 37 nominations, this is the one it arguably deserves the most (sorry, Leo). The team is in it to win it, too. They’re already making the rounds about how Leo sat in hair and makeup for an exhausting five hours each day to apply the wounds and gashes, which do look pretty impressive.
What’s your pick to win among these nominees? What missed out on a nomination that was deserving?