Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars 2013: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.

BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING

2012_les_miserables_001
1. LES MISÉRABLES

2. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

3. HITCHCOCK

Missing: Lincoln

Hitchcock, like last year’s winner The Iron Lady, has one major effect that prompted its nomination: the recreation of that famous Hitchockian profile. Howard Berger, Oscar-winner for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, went the prosthetics route with Anthony Hopkins (unlike, say, Daniel Day-Lewis, who disappeared beautifully into the 16th President without prosthetics — yet Lincoln was snubbed here). Instead of an exacting recreation — that would impede the actor’s work (a la Leonard DiCaprio in J. Edgar) — Berger and team took a less-is-more approach. After crafting six different molds, they ended up trimming down the nose and ears and losing a set of dentures altogether. Despite this mere approximation, the master is all there: the droopy jowls, the big-lipped underbite. You don’t doubt Hopkins’s Hitch, physically, for a minute.

Unfortunately for Hitchcock, the other two films have not just one shining example of makeup artistry, but hundreds. At first glance, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey appears to have the most/best makeup and hairstyling. Tami Lane (also nominated as part of the team for Hitchcock) added so much red coloring to the dwarves’ skin that, on-set, they looked as though they’d spent too much time on the Jersey Shore. But due to the unforgiving 48 frames-per-second and 3D, which would make regularly-toned skin appear a sickly yellow, Lane rosied those cheeks to achieve the correct pallor. Her team also rocked out some nifty braided beards, pronounced dwarvian schnozes, and the pre-CGI makeup for the film’s most masterful creation, Gollum.

But with only three nominations, the Academy clearly was as disappointed as the rest of us with  The Hobbit. And we all know how much they love a musical… And wouldn’t you know, the only aspect of Les Misérables that isn’t terrible — in fact, is actually quite good — is the hair and makeup. Director Tom Hooper recruited a star-studded BBC-trained team for his period epic, and Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell got it exactly right. For “Convict Val Jean,” they created scraggly extensions for Jackman’s natural beard, gave him some bloodshot and yellowed contact lenses, and some really classy yellowed dentures. When he got his act together and became “Mayor Val Jean,” he got a shave and a much more dignified (and perfectly gelled) hairpiece along with some swanky sideburns. “Dying Val Jean” saw the return of the scraggly beard in addition to some awesomely weathered skin and sad, drooping eyes. And this was only Val Jean — there’s an impressive number of yellow-teethed, nappy-haired urchins in this film, not to mention the powder-caked cheeks and red-lipped likes of the thieving Thénardiers. Everything about Les Mis is so over-the-top, but you have to admit: makeup-wise, they got it right.

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6 comments on “Oscars 2013: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. A-Ron
    January 27, 2013

    I’m rooting against Les Mis anyway. I don’t care if the makeup is good.

    Like

    • Julie
      January 27, 2013

      I thought you were going to try to hate Les Mis a little bit less?

      Like

      • A-Ron
        January 27, 2013

        Hm. I didn’t try for very long, I guess. Or rather we might say that I tried to hate Les Mis a little bit less for about as long as Tom Hooper tried to stop being so smug. #aheartfullofhate

        Like

        • Julie
          January 27, 2013

          I am trying to stay on the positive subject of makeup. As soon as you bring up the Hoops, though, my #heartfullofhate rages. I am going to let that rage bottle up and then explode all over my Best Directing post.

          Oh wait… He wasn’t nominated. 😀

          Like

  2. Haslyn Roberts
    February 12, 2013

    This website is phenomenal. This is one of the best blogs that I have ever read. Your insights and writing is exceptional especially when it comes to your oscar coverage

    Like

    • Julie
      February 12, 2013

      Thank you so much! And thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Like

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