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HomeAwardsOscar Contender - Kate Biscoe, Makeup for Vice

Oscar Contender – Kate Biscoe, Makeup for Vice


When makeup department head Kate Biscoe first read the Vice script, she realized, in order to organize the project, spanning six decades with multiple recurring characters, the film would be a formidable challenge. “Researching and breaking down the script was time consuming but not difficult,” she stated. “However, we would not be shooting sequentially, and there were days that we would be shooting two or three different decades in one day.”

Kate Biscoe
Head of the Makeup Department, Kate Biscoe

In order to optimize her department with such a potentially haphazard shooting schedule, Biscoe worked closely with Vice’s assistant directors and the casting department on the project. “With the ADs, I let them know if the makeup changeover between scenes was possible, and, if so, how long it would take,” Biscoe explained. “For example, could we get Amy Adams out of her age 63 look into her age 23 look in less than two hours? This also applied to the background actors—background casting had to be aware of not casting people with 1970s ‘civilian’ facial hair to work in the same scenes as 1960s Washington DC, which had no facial hair.”

Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney in Vice
Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney in Vice

Biscoe called upon fittings supervisor Lynne Eagan to create distinct color palettes of shadows, blush, and lipsticks for each decade which was being portrayed in the film in order to match costumes and sets. “Lynne consulted with every background actor in the movie and provided each with a customized worksheet, instructing each how to come camera-ready on the morning of work,” Biscoe detailed. “All of our background makeup artists became experts at quickly taking off and applying lace facial hair in record speed!”

In her department, Biscoe hired co-key makeup artists Ann Pala Williams and Jamie Kelman to assist her in all tasks that came to makeup artistry and hairstyling on Vice. “Ann and Jamie can both do everything: effects, beauty, character, etc.,” Biscoe described. “Jamie has his own [makeup effects] shop, so I had him sculpt some of the appliances we used, as well as assigned him the George W. Bush makeup. Ann was assigned several aging makeups like Eddie Marsan as Paul Wolfowitz, George Bush, Sr., and Lily Rabe as Liz Cheney. There was never a division of effects versus beauty makeup in our department — the way we looked at it, it was all character makeup.”

Tyler Perry as in Vice
Tyler Perry as Colin Powell in Vice

In working with director Adam McKay, Biscoe found an affable filmmaker, especially during pre-production. “Adam is incredibly approachable and collaborative,” she said. “He’s a natural leader that makes you feel safe. During prep, I always do presentation boards of various looks and have several meetings where I blab all of my ideas. He was into it all and very encouraging.”

Left to Right: Director Adam McKAy and actors Steve Carrol and Christian Bale on the set of Vice
Left to Right: Director Adam McKay and actors Steve Carrel and Christian Bale

During principal photography, in addition to running her department, Biscoe created Amy Adams’ looks as Lynne Cheney for the run of the film; Greg Cannom, Kenny Myers and Biscoe collaborated on Adams’ makeups for age 58 to her oldest onscreen age stage. Biscoe also created the Condoleezza Rice makeup and worked together with Kelman on an Osama Bin Laden makeup.

Supervising 150 principal performers across a six-decade time span, Biscoe notes that Vice was, for her, an exhilarating journey. “When you love what you do, things are not difficulties—they are challenges,” she said. “I love doing period and biopics, so for someone like me, this type of work is so satisfying. Vice was really the sum of its parts, and I am, in many ways, a figurehead.”

Vice Makeup Department:
Greg Cannom, Chris Gallaher, Eric Porn & Kenny Myers created Dick Cheney’s various makeups on Christian Bale
Adrien Morot- Steve Carell (Donald Rumsfeld)
Wesley Wofford- Tyler Perry (Colin Powell)
Jamie Kelman- Designed, Sculpted and Applied the George Bush Makeup on Sam Rockwell
Jessica Nelson- Contact Lens Technician
Kate Biscoe – Department Head
Ann Pala Williams – Co-Key Makeup Artist
Jamie Kelman – Co-Key Makeup Artist
Cristina Waltz – Background Supervisor
Lynne Eagan- Fittings Supervisor
Background Makeup Artists: Jamie Hess, Abby Lyle, Frances Ferris, Jenni Brown Greenberg, and Miho Suzuki Herpich

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