As Oscar week comes to an end, we must not only acknowledge the beautifully talented actors but also the hardworking, dedicated individuals that work behind the scenes to help create a memorable viewing experience for the audience.
On Saturday, February 23rd The Academy highlighted the amazing makeup and hairstyling artists that brought to life some of our favorite characters from top films this past year at the Makeup & Hairstyling Symposium!
The lavish Oscar event was held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, CA. The hosts and moderators included Leonard Engelman, Kathryn L. Blondell and Lois Burwell who have been in the industry for over 20 years. In 2006, Engelman was the first person to be elected Governor of the Academy’s newly created Makeup Artists and Hairstylists branch and later he served as Vice President of the Board of Governors in 2013 and 2014. Blondell on the other hand was the first woman to serve as a Governor for the Makeup Artists and Hairstyling Branch in 2013. After 35 years as a makeup artist, Burwell is currently serving her second term as Governor and holds the office of Vice President on the Board of Governors.
The makeup artists and hairstylists for three Oscar nominated films were honored and celebrated during the symposium. Swedish sculptor, makeup and prosthetics artist Goran Lunderstrom and on set makeup effects and prosthetics supervisor for the 2018 Swedish film, Border were congratulated on their nomination for best make up and briefly interviewed about what it took to create the main characters of this fantasy film. Eva Melander who plays Tina in the film joined the artists on stage to describe her experience. She recalls having to meditate while her makeup was being done because she would have to sit still for four to seven hours at a time without taking breaks to move around. Both the main characters’ entire faces were covered with prosthetics except for their upper lips. Melander stated that due to her detailed nose prosthetics, she couldn’t move her nose so she spent hours researching how a dog uses their sense of smell and what different muscles dogs use to move their nose. After briefly describing their creative process the audience watched a ten-minute clip from the movie which enabled us to get a closer look at the well-done work of the artists.
Mary Queen of Scots starring actresses Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan were also amongst the films being nominated for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling. Jenny Shircore, Marc Pilcher and Jessica Brooks were invited on stage for their remarkable nomination and to discuss the teamwork that went into creating looks for this historical drama. Hair and makeup designer Shircore remembers wondering how she was going to transform Margot Robbie into Queen Elizabeth which is quite a dramatic transformation. Once the team was given the freedom to create a modern twist on Queen Elizabeth, they took it and ran. Pilcher truly had fun bringing the many wigs to life stating that Ronan wore close to 11 wigs throughout the film.
Finally, special character makeup designer, Greg Cannom, head makeup artist Kate Biscoe and department head for hair Patricia Dehaney were acknowledged for their nomination for Vice starring Christian Bale. Cannom exclaimed, “When Christian Bale went to accept his Golden Globe I forgot what he actually looked like.” That is because Bale was very dedicated to becoming Dick Cheney for his role. He insisted on having a strong, fat neck to accurately depict an aging Cheney. They had just six weeks to create these masterpieces and they excelled!
Difficulties arose when creating an aging Lynne Cheney because she allegedly got a facelift which they wanted to acknowledge but discreetly seeing as it was never confirmed that this facelift happened. They paid such close attention to detail that they even taped the eyelids of Lisa Gay Hamilton, who plays Condoleezza Rice down to create the hooded eyelid look of Rice. No stone went un turned in the recreation of these high-profile politicians.
After hearing from the nominees and watching clips from these brilliant films, we were invited to view the gallery up close and see the prosthetics and wigs that were actually used during filming. The work was incredible, and every nominee should be proud of their achievement. Be sure to catch the star studded Academy Awards live Sunday, Feb. 24th.