The Oscars Makeup is “Transformation Thursday”
I read this article today and wanted to share it with you guys, as it’s a little different to the normal “Transformation Thursday” that I delve into… It’s more about the skill of all the Oscar Hot Topic makeup for films which is why it caught my eye
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have
Makeup Like A Pro
As two oversized Oscar statues peered out at the capacity crowd from opposite ends of the Samuel Goldwyn Theater stage in Beverly Hills, one thing was obvious the Saturday before the 2013 Academy Awards: Make-up and hairstyling were the stars of the afternoon.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences celebrated make-up and hairstyling with an exclusive event dedicated to the Oscar nominees in the newly retitled Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling category.
This year’s honorees were Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel for Hitchcock; Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell for Les Misérables; and Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Officially titled “Oscar Celebrates the Year in Makeup and Hairstyling,” the sold-out event included fans of make-up and hair artistry as well as many industry professionals, including Bill Corso, Michele Burke, Michael Westmore, Greg Cannom, Yolanda Toussieng, Deborah LaMia Denaver, Steve LaPorte and Trefor Proud.
“This is a wonderful time for these eight nominees to bask in their accomplishments and recognition,” said Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch Governor Leonard Engelman during his opening remarks as moderator. “Some of you in the audience may have contributed to these films and should be sharing in their glory. Today is a celebration of winners. Every nominee who steps onstage is a winner.”
Each of the nominees took the stage where Engelman, accompanied by a photo slide show, led a discussion about the process. A 10-minute video clip selection capped each presentation
‘Les Misérables’ Westcott and Dartnell described creating a beard for Hugh Jackman that was strong enough to survive multiple waves of water, creating prosthetic teeth with just the right shade of downtrodden Parisian yellow and what the duo described as the “Les Misérables haircuts.”
The decision to shear Anne Hathaway’s hair was made before Westcott joined the production, and she admitted she wasn’t completely on board with that choice. But both she and Dartnell said there was no hesitation about giving Hugh Jackman’s hair the look Jean Valjean needed as a prison inmate.
“We just went for it,” said Dartnell “Hugh had seen the concept drawing, and he was all for it. You have to be brave and go in and do what we had to do … We said to Hugh, ‘Just go out and buy a good hat,'” said Dartnell.
Westcott and Dartnell appeared to have the most fun with Helena Bonham Carter’s character Madame Thénardier. When Engelman began to ask, “This was an opportunity to …” Westcott quickly finished the sentence with, “Show off.”
For the Hitchcock segment, Berger, Montagna and Samuel were joined by the film’s director, Sacha Gervasi. He brought up how the original make-up was a little too close to home.
“They did a make-up where Tony Hopkins looked exactly liked Alfred Hitchcock,” said Gervasi. “It was wonderful, except nobody knew it was Tony Hopkins. I could have been doing it. So we tried to find a balance. Howard calls it a portrait. We weren’t really doing an impersonation, we were trying to do Tony’s version of Hitch.”
All praised the actor for his dedication to the character. “Tony would not leave the room until he was 100 percent,” said Berger. “He didn’t want to break the illusion. He didn’t want to come to set without the fat suit on. That’s the big reason I feel it was a success.” (AT RIGHT: Berger, Montagna and Samuel)
Gervasi said the make-up brought out Hopkins’ devilish side. “He took delight in going up to people as Hitchcock, especially those who hadn’t seen him, tapping them on the shoulder and going ‘Good evening.’ People would jump,” he remembered. “When Helen Mirren actually saw him for the first time, she went, ‘What the bleep?’ She was genuinely shocked.”
For The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Swords King, Findlater and Lane were joined on stage by actor Graham McTavish who played Dwalin. He detailed his character’s complicated make-up as “a silicone cap, a foam cap and a piece for the nose and the bridge,” which took more than an hour to apply.
One of the biggest challenges for the team was taking slim actors who averaged more than six feet in height and transforming them into believable dwarfs.
“We had to squash them and widen them,” said Swords King (NEAR LEFT, with Lane and Findlater). “What we tried to do with the make-up was lose their necks. We tried to widen them [the actors] with hair.”
“We had to accentuate some of the features to create this illusion,” continued Lane. “We enlarged their heads and widened their ear spans, broadened their foreheads and enlarged their noses to create this squattish look.”
“We actually lowered their ears as well, so they were nearer their shoulders,” added Findlater.
Findlater said that every actor and most of the extras had to be wigged. Many characters had facial hair. And then there were those whose arms, legs and feet were also in make-up. “We literally had walls and walls, rooms and rooms of wigs, beards, eyebrows,” he said. “It was an incredible sight to see.”
Following the main event, which featured a question-and-answer session, the crowd adjourned to the lobby for a reception featuring displays of key make-up and hair materials from the films
“It’s just great seeing all these people that are really into the art of make-up,” said Montagna. “You don’t realize that there are so many fans out there who love it. I know when I was starting out, I’d give anything to be at an event like this. To be on the other end of it is really exciting.”
“I had no idea we’d have this big of a turnout,” said Lane before pausing to sign a program for a young fan. “I’m really impressed at how many people care about the intricacies of what we do. It’s a great event and a great evening.”
In fact, all the nominees were kept busy throughout the evening autographing programs, photos and whatever admirers put in front of them. “I’ve never done this before in my life,” exclaimed Dartnell as another fan approached. “I could get quite used to this.”