Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars Predictions 2014: 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.



Stephen Prouty

Joel Harlow & Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Adruitha Lee & Robin Mathews

Should be here: American Hustle (for all that hair!), Star Trek Into the Darkness

Let’s just take a moment to let it sink in that an MTV movie starring Johnny Knoxville is Oscar-nominated.

And then let’s acknowledge that Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa boasts the best, baddest grandpa makeup this year. Stephen Prouty’s old-man makeup is so good that when Grandpa speaks, you actually think someone else is throwing his voice, because Knoxville’s youthful tenor just doesn’t measure up to all the lines and creases and the receding, snowy hairline. The film marks Prouty’s first nomination (he’s largely known for his creature-feature makeup on shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel), and if the Academy goes with the obvious winner here —  not the “best” film — he could take it home. And the Academy could very well surprise us (so check back, as my prediction might actually change in the upcoming weeks). But not if they actually watch the movie and see all the fake dicks. That might be a turnoff.

While The Lone Ranger is a racist dud of a so-called adventure film, the makeup — not including all that terrible redface, blackface and every other kind of face — is actually pretty damn good. There’s a pointless narrative frame for the film’s main action which showcases an aged Tonto, and Johnny Depp’s old man makeup is nearly as impressive as Knoxville’s. Stephen Harlow (who apparently is Depp’s personal makeup artist, having worked on many of his films) has won once before for 2009’s Star Trek, but this is Gloria Pasqua-Casny’s first nomination, though she is an Emmy winner for Mad Men and Enterprise. But you don’t see elderly Tonto in any of the film’s ads or trailers, and so the chance that most voters actually watched this film and saw that artistry is slim. The Lone Ranger has no shot.

The makeup of Dallas Buyers Club is super-subtle in comparison to the other two nominees. First-time nominees Adruitha Lee (hair) and Robin Mathews (makeup) were charged with transforming Matthew McConaughey from a strapping, healthy Texan to a ghost of a man dying of AIDS, and Jared Leto from sick to sicker to dying. But the problem with this is that McConaughey did a great deal of the work himself by losing 45 pounds for the film, and he actually looks gaunt from the first frame. But none of that matters when DCB is  the only prestige picture represented here. For that reason alone, it will most likely take the Oscar home.


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