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HomeAwardsMakeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Honor Top Achievements of 2014

Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Honor Top Achievements of 2014

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Rick Baker (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Rick Baker (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Creating timeless screen characters is the goal of every makeup artist or hair stylist who picks up a dedicated tool and, for anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, works his or her magic on the actor or actress seated in their chair every morning. These numerous artists from all walks and all countries were on hand Feb. 14 to pay tribute to the greatest work among their peers, not only for film and television work in 2014, but also for stage, advertising and new media across 19 categories at the annual Makeup Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards.

Inside the Paramount Theater at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, relevant introductory overview comments were made by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president, Sue Cabral-Ebert, president of Local 706, the Los Angeles-based guild for makeup artists and hairstylists, and Tommy Cole, business representative of Local 706, all setting the stage for the unique affair.

Proud of his brethren, Academy makeup branch governor Leonard Engelman noted the importance of having a Makeup Guild Awards show in addition to the Academy Awards. “This is for the Local 706 Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild,” he stated. “This one is recognizing film, TV, commercials, stage, all the way through makeup and hair. It’s so great to have makeup artists and hair stylists recognized for such wonderful work through all of the years, and it’s a great tribute to them.”

Leonard Engelman (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Leonard Engelman (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Prior to the event, stalwarts from the world of makeup and hair styling were happy to discuss the intricacies of their craft and that night’s celebration of all things related to creating memorable screen and TV characters.

“It’s great to get nominated for an Academy Award, but the Academy Awards are voted on by the entire body of the Academy. It’s a cross-section of the entire film industry,” said Bill Corso nominated for both an Academy Award and Makeup Guild award for creating and supervising makeup on Foxcatcher. “The Makeup Guild Awards are an award given by your peers. To me, there’s no greater honor than getting an award from your peers. That’s the best.”

In 2004, Corso received an Oscar for best makeup for his work with Jim Carrey, transforming him into Count Olaf for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and in Foxcatcher, Corso worked with another famous comedian, Steve Carell, to disguise his appearance in a similar fashion. “They are very similar jobs, actually,” Corso said. “That irony is not lost on me.”

Jerry Popolis and Kat Drazen (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Jerry Popolis and Kat Drazen (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Toni Garavaglia (who goes by Toni G.) was nominated twice – for supervising makeup on Unbroken, and for working with Rick Baker and Arjen Tuiten on the title character in Maleficent. For Unbroken, she said the secret to success was, “You put together a great team of people. It was quite a large team – nine artists in the principal trailers with hair and makeup. We used Australian makeup and hair artists except Arjen [Tuiten] who came over with me and made all of the prosthetics. He’s a new secret weapon in this industry. We worked for three-and-a-half months.” Of the nominations for both of her 2014 films, Toni G. noted, “It’s absolutely the best compliment you can have from your peers.”

Artist Barry Koper has 40 years of makeup achievements in the industry and echoed Toni G’s words. Koper’s favorite of his own makeups are from The Santa Clause films, namely combining realistic aging and fat makeups in several stages on Tim Allen as Santa. Koper noted the relevance of staging a Makeup Guild Awards event apart from all other awards shows. “It’s for the people, by the people that work in the industry in our craft,” he said. “That’s much more rewarding and much better than anything else.”

Gino Acevedo, nominated with Tami Lane for best special makeup effects at Weta Workshop for The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, permanently relocated to New Zealand to work on the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. “We’ve been busy non-stop since I’ve been there – almost 17 years now in Middle-earth,” he said. “I did a transition from physical stuff into the digital world, so now I look after the textures department, but I still dabble into the makeup effects. Tami did a lot of work on it in the beginning, but I did 10 weeks work of pickups and re-jigging of some of makeups. We did silicone makeups on the dwarves and orcs.”

Ron Perlman (left) and Guillermo del Toro (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Ron Perlman (left) and Guillermo del Toro (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Chief among the reasons that Acevedo relocated to Wellington was Weta Workshop supervisor Richard Taylor’s and director Jackson’s familiarity with the artist’s prosthetic abilities. “I taught the makeup artists there how to paint and use the right colors, and how to paint and apply prosthetics,” Acevedo said about his techniques in airbrushing and designing prosthetic paint schemes.

For Birdman, Jerry Popolis and Kat Drazen won the award for best contemporary hair styling in a feature film. “We shot for almost 11 weeks,” said Drazen. “Jerry hired me to be his assistant – to make his styles come to life. It was challenging in a sense of continuity because the scenes were so long and hair changes. Sometimes we’d pick up a scene in a different location weeks later. It was a real challenge – every piece of the puzzle.”

Popolis added, “It was really difficult for the entire crew because we’d never experienced a film shot this way. We had to learn a different way of filming. When they started rolling, you couldn’t be in the way. [Director] Alejandro Iñárritu is very specific about what he wants.” Birdman shot in a studio on a set built to match the backstage area of a real theater in Manhattan, New York, in addition to filming in and around an actual theater on Broadway and on the roof of the famed St. James Theater.

Barry Koper (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Barry Koper (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Without question, one of the evening’s most momentous occasions was the Makeup Artist lifetime achievement award being given to Rick Baker, whose professional career spans 45 years, includes seven Oscars for best makeup, and has ushered in new techniques in the realization of screen characters of all types. Legendary collector and makeup historian Bob Burns has known Baker since he was 13. “Nobody deserves it more than he,” said Burns. “I’ve seen him start from just playing with stuff. When he was 13 years old. He was better than most of the makeup artists of the time, even then. You see that happen, and you know things are going to work out pretty well. I’m as thrilled as I could possibly be.”

Spectral Motion, a makeup effects firm responsible for creating creatures in films such as Hellboy collaborated with Baker on that project – the former did all creatures except the titular Hellboy, while Baker created the leading makeup for Hellboy himself. Mike Elizalde, founder of Spectral Motion, spoke of Baker’s impact on the industry, leading to this lifetime achievement. “It’s long overdue,” Elizalde said. “Rick is one of the most prolific artists. He’s not only a makeup artist and sculptor and brilliant designer, he’s also a painter. He’s a consummate artist. He’s what we all hope to achieve some day. He’s earned this many times over.”

John Landis (Photo by Amber Connelly).
John Landis (Photo by Amber Connelly).

Others from Baker’s world were on hand for his big night. “I was Rick’s right-hand assistant and co-managed the studio for eight-plus years,” said Heidi Holicker. “He started a lot of makeup artists’ careers as Dick Smith started his career, and he has continued to hire and work with and mentor Bill Corso, Howard Berger, Toni G and Kazuhiro Tsuji – the most amazing artists and really good people. He’s always inspired them to achieve the highest quality of work, with a sense of humor. I’m proud of him and thrilled for him, and he, of course, deserves it and much more.”

Baker has been working with makeup since he was 10, and professionally since he was 19. “He’s climbed to the top because of his degree of excellence,” Holicker continued. “Whether he had two people working for him or 120 people working for him, he would strive – no matter what it would take – to absolutely get the best that he was capable of, and continue to grow. He’s always growing and open to learning new things about his own craft. He’s just really special.”

Just before the ceremonies began, John Landis explained how he came to meet Baker. “I went to John Chambers who I knew from when I was a mail boy [at Fox Studios],” he said. “I wanted him to build me a schlocky gorilla suit [for Landis’ first feature film, Schlock, released in 1973]. My whole budget was $60,000. He wanted like $250,000; otherwise he couldn’t do it. He sent me to Don Post Studios. Don Post wanted too much money. As I was leaving, Don Post, Jr., who now owns it, was sitting there painting one of those rubber pullover masks. He said, ‘Hey, if you are looking for a makeup guy, there was a kid in here looking for a job who I thought had an amazing portfolio.’ He gave me a card that said Rick Baker – Monster Maker. It had his parents’ address. I went out to see Rick Baker in Covina. I had been working since I was 17, and I had worked on many movies, and I thought, ‘This kid is brilliant.’”

Sarah Paulson (Photo by Amber Connelly).
Sarah Paulson (Photo by Amber Connelly).

“I’m honored, of course. I’ve dedicated my life to the art of makeup, and I guess I didn’t waste my time doing it,” said Baker. “If I were to drop dead today, I would be happy with what I’ve accomplished; I hope I don’t.” Of his favorite film in his career, Baker reflectively noted, “It’s hard to pick a film, but I would probably say American Werewolf in London. It’s the one that put me on the map, isn’t it?”

Midway through the two-hour ceremony, director Guillermo del Toro was presented with the distinguished artisan award by his longtime collaborator, and affable makeup performer, actor Ron Perlman. Del Toro noted that, prior to becoming a director, he used to do makeup effects and creature work himself, running a makeup effects company for 10 years. “If you want to be a general, you have to be a grunt,” he said. “The powerful person on a movie is the makeup artist. I receive this award with a lot of emotion, because I know most of you. Most of you I consider family. I admire many of you, and I’ve had very late nights with many of you.”

After the ceremony, del Toro spoke openly about his insistence on integrating makeup effects with digital techniques in his own films, namely his newest projects, the film Crimson Peak and the TV series Strain. “90% of the ghosts are done physically by DDT Effects from Barcelona,” he divulged of Crimson Peak. “We only use about 10% digital [techniques] to enhance the ghosts to add a couple of effects here and there. Strain was the same. We have one of the biggest makeup shops in Toronto right now running upwards of 30-40 characters in a heavy night. The other night, I shot the prologue for the first episode of the season. I had Doug Jones in a head-to-toe prosthetic suit. I think the love of monsters and the love of illusions that are created with effects will never be outdone.”

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Winners for Feature Length Motion Picture (Feature Films):

Best Contemporary Make-Up
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Make-Up Artist: Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou

Best Contemporary Hair Styling
Birdman
Hair Stylists: Jerry Popolis and Kat Drazen

Best Period and/or Character Make-Up
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Make-Up Artists: Frances Hannon and Julie Dartnell

Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Hair Stylists: Frances Hannon and Julie Dartnell

Best Special Make-Up Effects
Guardians of The Galaxy
Make-Up Artist: David White

Winners for Television and New Media Series:

Best Contemporary Make-Up
Sons of Anarchy
Make-Up Artists: Tracey Anderson, Michelle Garbin and Sabine Roller Taylor

Best Contemporary Hair Styling
Dancing With The Stars
Hair Stylists: Mary Guerrero, Kimi Messina and Jennifer Guerrero-Mazursky

Best Period and/or Character Make-Up
Downton Abbey
Make-Up Artists: Magi Vaughan and Erika Ökvist

Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling
Downton Abbey
Hair Stylists: Magi Vaughan and Adam James Phillips

Best Special Make-Up Effects
The Walking Dead
Make-Up Artists: Greg Nicotero and Jake Garber

Winners for Television Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television (M.O.W):

Best Contemporary Make-Up
Fargo
Make-Up Artists: Gail Kennedy, Joanne Preece and Gunther Schetterer

Best Contemporary Hair Styling
Sherlock
Hair Stylists: Claire Pritchard-Jones and Sarah Astley-Hughes

Best Period and/or Character Make-Up
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Make-Up Artists: Eryn Krueger Mekash and Kim Ayers

Best Period and/or Character Hair Styling
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Hair Stylists: Monte Haught and Michelle Ceglia

Best Special Make-Up Effects
American Horror Story: Freak Show
Make-Up Artists: Eryn Krueger Mekash, Michael Mekash and Christopher Nelson

Winners for Commercials and Music Videos:

Best Make-Up
DirecTV
Make-Up Artists: Scott Stoddard and Michael Ornelaz

Best Hair Styling
Progressive Commercial
Hair Stylist: Dian Bethune Coble

Winners for Theatrical Productions (Live Stage):

Best Make-Up
“Kinky Boots”
Make-Up Artist: Sarah B. Wolfe

Best Hair Styling
“Motown The Musical, National Tour”
Hair Stylist: Brandon Bolton

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