For Your Consideration – Movie Makeup in the Spotlight
In films released in 2012, the complete panoply of makeup challenges was on display in a wide variety of films. In one makeup sub-category, the traditional “monster” and alien makeups were surely presented in a film such as Men in Black 3, while the unfairly overlooked film, Cloud Atlas, featured actors in six different vignettes, each of which involved a near-total transformation of the principal cast to suit characters who varied in age, race, and even gender. In the finalists of films being officially recognized by the Academy for their makeup and hairstyling achievements, there are three titles whose requirements represented three entirely different types of work within the craft.In Hitchcock, Sacha Gervasi’s biographical take on legendary director Alfred Hitchcock’s journey to make the film Psycho despite a horde of naysayers, the makeup team was first responsible for period makeups to reflect the 1959-1960 setting of the film. This involved altering its actors and actresses to flawlessly resemble the looks of the time. Another challenge on the film, and one which has garnered much attention, was Howard Berger and Peter Montagna’s endeavor to change star Sir Anthony Hopkins into the visage of Hitchcock himself. Rather than approach the makeup as a direct likeness of Hitchcock, which displeased the production team as it completely obscured Hopkins’ face, Berger’s team, which also included key sculptor Richie Alonzo, and artist Martin Samuel, determined to create a “portrait” of Hitchcock, which both recalled the British director but allowed Hopkins’ distinct eyes and forehead to express themselves through. The end result gave audiences a reflection of the notable director but still allowed them to take in the film as one driven by another sensational Anthony Hopkins performance. The wide array of period and age-specific makeups drove Academy members to also nominate Les Misérables, Tom Hooper’s cinematic adaptation of the smash-hit 1987 Broadway stage musical. In Hooper’s film, which follows lead character Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) through his adult life, 19 years are spanned, leading up to the historical 1832 June Rebellion in France. Shot entirely in Europe, Les Misérables’ crew included nominees Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell who supervised a makeup and hair team responsible for numerous leading and supporting players, optimizing their looks to portray early 1800s France and simultaneously tracking the 19-year time span of the narrative. Period films are often noted for crafts such as costume design and production design, but makeup and hairstyling craftsmanship is equally important in achieving the verisimilitude of a film set in years past. Lastly, in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, makeup department head Peter King supervised a large team of artists on location and on stage in New Zealand, creating all manners of fantasy makeups, including hobbits, elves, dwarves and other creatures who populate the J.R.R. Tolkien prequel to The Lord of the Rings’ films. In this first film of the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey features a group of 13 actors who appear as the key dwarves, necessitating that they and their stunt and photo doubles wear beards, wigs, and heavy prosthetics, overseen by Rick Findlater and Tami Lane who were key on King’s team, supervising hair work and prosthetics, respectively. Lane’s group worked with another crew of prosthetics craftspeople under the auspices of Richard Taylor at the Weta Workshop. Taylor’s group also produced special props, armour, miniatures and creatures as needed from the highly regarded Wellington facility.
With these disparate films representing just a few of the many types of makeup artistry and hairstyling crafts categories, the Academy has surely selected three distinct films for the best makeup award consideration, all of which demonstrate the rich amount of potential that many of these largely unheralded artists possess.
Best Achievement in Special Effects Makeup and Hairstyling
- Hitchcock – Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel (64%, 98 Votes)
- The Hobbit – Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane (25%, 38 Votes)
- Les Misérables – Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell (11%, 17 Votes)
Total Voters: 153