The LAMB Devours the Oscars: Best Makeup

by Rachel · January 25, 2012 · LAMB Devours the Oscars · 5 Comments

Let’s get things started!

Editor’s note: Welcome to the first of a 32-part series dissecting the 84th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every day leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. To read any other posts regarding this event, please click the tag following the post. Thank you, and enjoy!

By Rachel of Rachel’s Reel Reviews

The make-up category can be a hard one to predict, because the spectrum is extremely wide. Last year’s winner was almost a given with a nominee that had previously won the award multiple times (including the first ever in the category) heading up the makeup design for a (terrible) werewolf film.   This year is a little tougher with only one nominee having been nominated previously and comparing the differences in a cross-dressing period piece versus the portrayal of a modern historical figure versus magical creatures…and some questionable aging techniques.

Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnson & Matthew W. Mungle
for Albert Nobbs
Have you ever been standing in line at the grocery store and glanced at the tabloid covers that “reveal” stars without their makeup? Unpleasant, isn’t it? That’s the kind of vibe I get when I see Glenn Close playing a woman pretending to be a man in Albert Nobbs. Harsh? Sure, but looking at the character and the actress side-by-side, I just think she’s missing some eyeliner and lipstick. I’m sure the film also received its nomination for other uses of 19th century makeup and hairstyles, but I think it’s possibly the underdog in this fight.

Mark Coulier & J. Roy Helland
for The Iron Lady
I was a bit young when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister, so I actually had to Google her to get a better idea of what she really looked like around the time The Iron Lady is set. Except for making Meryl slightly more polished, I’d say well done. Meryl has received her 17th Oscar acting nomination for playing Thatcher, and certainly looking the part only helped her performance, so should she win, she should certainly give thanks to J. Roy Helland, who is not only credited as her personal hair and makeup artist on The Iron Lady, but 34 other films as well.

Nick Dudman, Amanda Night & Lisa Tombling
for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
Over the course of a decade, the Harry Potter series has produced a number of magical looks and yet this is the first film of the franchise to be nominated for a makeup award. What was so different about the final film that demanded a nomination in the category? Nothing really. Outside of a majority of the cast being smeared with dirt and blood due to battle, the only other noticeable makeup would be the gaggle of Goblins, which have been shown numerous times before. (If you’re wondering, Voldemort’s snake face is mostly CG.) Perhaps the makeup simply improved over the decade, because surely the Academy didn’t nominate the makeup department for the infamous two-decade “aging” on the Trio in the final scene. Surely not.

Despite Harry Potter bringing the fantasy element into the mix, which is often the popular choice, and Albert Nobbs sporting the only makeup artist to have been previously nominated (and won) for the category, my money is on The Iron Lady. Looking back over past winners, the Academy seems to really love a makeup department that can transform a star into a believable replica of a real life character (La Vie en Rose, Frida, Elizabeth, Ed Wood) and that tradition will likely continue this year.

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5 Responses to The LAMB Devours the Oscars: Best Makeup

  1. Great assessment Rachel! I think you’re right that The Iron Lady is the front-runner here, as the Academy is clearly more in love with Meryl Streep than they are with Harry Potter!

  2. Wilde.Dash says:

    “Have you ever been standing in line at the grocery store and glanced at the tabloid covers that “reveal” stars without their makeup?”

    Right on the nose. Honestly, she looks a bit like an automaton of herself in that film. It’s like a strange trip into the uncanny valley…

  3. Rachel says:

    NTEMP – Thanks! I was shocked to find out that HP had never received a nomination for makeup before, so I’m really curious why they’re starting now. However, I was truly shocked when I skimmed the history of Best Makeup nominees/winners and didn’t see The Queen from a few years back even nominated! Appalling.

    Wilde.Dash – She doesn’t quite look human does she? The eyes look almost dead.

  4. amy says:

    I would think Nobbs is the underdog in this, I’ll give that title to Potter just for the makeup in the Epilogue. LOL

    The Iron Lady has the unfair advantage that it’s got a place where to start, while the other two don’t. But I guess it comes down to being believable, and Streep looks like a believable Thatcher xD

  5. EFC says:

    Oh Rachel, The Wolfman wasn’t that terrible. Granted, I drank a 40 before sitting down to watch it, but still. 😉

    Glenn Close still looks like Glenn Close, so I don’t see Albert Nobbs winning. So yeah, Iron Lady’s taking it. I mean, look at that pic! Helland did a nice giving Meryl the Thatcher do-over.

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