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Contender – Makeup, Mike Elizalde, Hellboy II

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It was his work on Hellboy in 2004 that really put Mexico-born makeup artist Mike Elizalde and his company, Spectral Motion, on the map. The film required myriad creatures and action props, and for last year’s sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army, a whole range of new designs were called for.

“We found the old molds and ran new pieces, but as it turned out, we were only able to find the molds for [Hellboy’s] body and the stone hand,” says Elizalde. “The face and head had to be resculpted.”

Processes were streamlined for the sequel, says the 22-year makeup industry veteran. “We had to come up with a way to cut down the application time, so we created a tight-fitting body suit [for returning character Abe Sapien, played by Doug Jones] to get him in and out more quickly. Over the period of the six-month shoot, that saved a lot of time. We also gave him a little more of a musculature to augment [the character’s design] from the first film.”

One of Hellboy II’s new characters is The Angel of Death, also played by Jones, designed by Norman Cabrera at Spectral Motion. “Norman has been one of those people who created a lot of the iconic characters that have come out of Spectral,” says Elizalde. “The Angel of Death was the crowning jewel in the film, with a skeletal face and eyes on its wings. It was a remarkable character that Norman carried the whole way.”

Another character he’s proud of is the eight-foot-tall Mr. Wink. “The Mr. Wink suit that Brian Steele wore weighs 120-pounds without Brian in it,” says Elizalde. “[Director] Guillermo [del Toro]’s edict was that we were going to do the movie as practically as possible. I’m very proud of the way the creature moved, and its face was also very lifelike.”

Regarding his Oscar nomination, Elizalde is clearly humbled. “It’s unbelievable. It’s a great moment and makes you feel so grateful and humble and honored to be recognized by your peers. I was nominated by a group of makeup artists who scrutinize the work more than anyone else would. You feel as though you have reached a lofty goal. Now I am here, and I’m just thrilled. It’s pretty wonderful.”

Previous Noms and Wins

2009: Nominated, Oscar, best achievement in makeup, Hellboy II: The Golden Army; 2005: Won, Saturn Award, best makeup, Hellboy.

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