×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Can Box Office Bombs Like ‘Jupiter Ascending’ and ‘Pan’ Crack the Makeup Oscar Race?

Frontrunners so far include 'Black Mass,' 'The Danish Girl' and 'Mad Max: Fury Road.'

As usual, this year’s Oscar race for Best Makeup and Hairstyling features a wide array of character transformations, period detail and genre manifestations. While fantastical exhibitions have certainly been Academy favorites in the past, the award has gone to grounded work more often than not in recent years, with films like “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Dallas Buyers Club” and “The Iron Lady” walking away with the gold. So let’s start there with our analysis of this year’s field.

Tom Hooper’s “Les Misérables” won the prize a few years back. This year, his follow-up — “The Danish Girl” — provides another opportunity for designers to work in period trappings. But moreover, this story of trangender pioneer Lili Elbe offers up an on-screen metamorphosis as actor Eddie Redmayne portrays Elbe during her transition. Designer Jan Sewell has been BAFTA-nominated a number of times over the years, including a notice for last year’s “The Theory of Everything” with Redmayne, but has yet to land an Oscar nod. That could certainly change this year.

Joel Harlow won an Oscar five years ago for his fantastical work on J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek.” This year he and his team were tasked not only with transforming actor Johnny Depp into crime boss Whitey Bulger, but with giving him that Nosferatu-like quality that makes his image on the screen instantly iconic. Harlow was also a recent nominee for 2014’s “The Lone Ranger” along with hairstyling key Gloria Casny.

Elsewhere, watch out for “The Revenant.” The brutality of the untamed wilderness will leave its mark on Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) and company, particularly in the wake of a vicious bear mauling. Makeup effects head Adrien Morot was a nominee for “Barney’s Version” in 2010.

Special makeup effects artist Jake Garber, hairstylist Camille Friend and department head Heba Thorisdottir had plenty to work with on Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” as well. In particular, the hair team got to dabble in period matching and character building, what with all the whiskers and snow-blown ‘dos populating the maestro’s western. Garber was a nominee two decades ago for “Star Trek: First Contact.”

And rounding out the reality-focused work in the category, there is Todd Haynes’ period romance “Carol.” Department heads Jerry DeCarlo and Patricia Regan are Emmy nominated but untested with Oscar, and their attention to the period — again, particularly in the arena of hairstyling — could make an impact on the branch.

Moving on to the genre-driven work in play, you have to start with George Miller’s summer blockbuster “Mad Max: Fury Road.” It would be an inspired choice by the branch, with all its detailed prosthetic work and iconic makeup imagery. Keys Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin and Elka Wardega, like a number of contenders in this year’s race, have yet to be recognized by the Academy.

The last time a “Star Wars” movie was on screen (“Episode III”), the only nomination it picked up was from the makeup branch. Curiously, though, that was the only time a film from the franchise has been recognized here. Will “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” join it? Makeup department head Amanda Knight was previously nominated for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2.”

Two box office disappointments are worth keeping an eye on as well; this branch is rarely phased by critical or popular appeal. “Pan,” to begin, may seem outwardly garish but it was a fun opportunity for the makeup team nevertheless, while the Wachowskis’ “Jupiter Ascending” became a playground to build otherworldly characters.

And finally, “Crimson Peak” department heads Cliona Furey and Jordan Samuel have been Emmy-recognized in the past, but they could pick up an Oscar notice if Guillermo del Toro’s gothic horror romance finds love in the crafts. In addition to the period work there’s also the director’s penchant for gore at play.

Other contenders to keep an eye on include “Concussion” (particularly for transforming actor David Morse into football star “Iron” Mike Webster), “Mr. Holmes” (aging Ian McKellen across a 30-year span), “Trumbo” (period-specific work and another character transformation), “The Big Short” (those wigs, though…) and “Southpaw” (the effects of boxing matches).

Keep track of the race all season long at the category’s dedicated Contenders page.

More Film

  • Black Panther

    'Black Panther,' 'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Westworld' Among Costume Designers Guild Winners

    “Crazy Rich Asians,” “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” walked away with top honors at the 21st annual Costume Designers Guild Awards Tuesday night, the final industry guild show before the Oscars on Feb. 24. “The Favourite” and “Black Panther” are up for the Oscar this year, along with “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” “Mary Poppins [...]

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Talent Agents, WGA Achieve Progress in Second Round of Talks

    Hollywood talent agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved some progress at their second negotiating session over agency regulations, according to sources close to the talks. The two sides met Tuesday, two weeks after their first meeting resulted in both sides criticizing each other, followed by the WGA holding a trio of spirited [...]

  • Aaron Paul

    Film News Roundup: Aaron Paul Honored by Sun Valley Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Aaron Paul is honored, Bruce Berman is re-upped at Village Roadshow, and Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher get a book deal. FESTIVAL HONORS The Sun Valley Film Festival has selected Idaho native and three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the winner of its Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his [...]

  • Olivia Munn]EMILY'S List Pre-Oscars Brunch, Inside,

    Olivia Munn Says Brett Ratner Called Her Before His 'Howard Stern' Apology

    Olivia Munn is setting the record straight about standing up to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner, whom she alleges sexually harassed her over a decade ago. During a panel discussion at the Emily’s List pre-Oscars brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Tuesday morning, Munn revealed that Ratner called her in 2011 after he denied [...]

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content