The 88th Academy Awards will take place this Sunday 28th February 2016, coming to us all from the world famous Dolby Theatre (previously The Kodak Theatre), Los Angeles, California; hosted by the comic genius that is Chris Rock. This year’s nominations for Best Makeup and Hairstyling couldn’t be more diverse. Mad Max: Fury Road a dystopian desert land where rogues wander, The Revenant which sees Leonardo DiCaprio savagely mauled by a bear and living in the wilderness and The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared in which a the aging make-up looks are superb. Of the 3 films that are battling to see who will reign supreme, Tom Hardy stars in 2 of them, so I’m pretty certain he’ll be pleased with the outcome whoever wins.
For Mad Max: Fury Road, Make-up and hair designers Lesley Vanderwalt and Damian Martin were set to work on creating what can only be described as post-apocalyptic creatures for the dystopian landscape. The artists and designers worked to re-create with makeup and clays what these characters would have had available to them in their everyday life. As in most civilizations around the world, they had their individual tribes, and the team used different designs to denote status within those tribes. Vanderwalt took inspiration from African tribes, Maori scarification as well as other ethnic cultures. Mad Max won the BAFTA. Will they scoop the coveted Academy Award too?
The creations on The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy involved 5 hour sessions with makeup artist Duncan Jarman; who designed and created the prosthetics necessary for portraying a man who’s recently been ravaged by a bear. The harsh surroundings had to be evident within the actor’s appearance too, so Sian Grigg set to work weathering and ageing the characters, as well as making skin look gangrenous. All involved said that the most daunting part of the entire film was making their work look realistic.
Love Larson and Eva Von Bahr initially turned down the offer to work on The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, from David Fincher (Swedish co-producer on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), through fear of not being able to do a good enough job. Recreating iconic historical characters such as Stalin, Franco and Harry S. Truman, as well as making a then 47-year old Robert Gustafsson go through nine stages of ageing is not an easy job. They knew that Gustafsson is an extremely well known actor in Sweden so the makeup had to disguise his features. If it hadn’t been up to standard the entire movie would’ve failed and due to lack of budget there was no scope for digital enhancements. The creation of the 100-year-old-man was totally reliant on Larson and Von Bahr’s expert make-up design and application.
Join the Iver Academy’s Advanced Certificate in Make-Up & Hair Artistry to learn skills and techniques of the film make-up industry.