CONTRIBUTED BY JAKE THOMPSON
Best Makeup and Hairstyling can often be a toss-up. A lot of great work has been nominated (and deservedly won). Every now and again there’ll be a nominee that you look at and say, “Really?” as if the Academy was playing a prank on us. Sadly, terrible movies do get nominated here (such as 1988’s Coming To America, 1996’s Ghosts of Mississippi, and 2007’s Norbit). I still remember when Oscar host Jon Stewart commented on Norbit‘s nomination during his opening monologue (“For too long, the Academy has ignored movies that are NOT good.”). As for major snubs in this category, I’ll only focus on movies that were released in 1981 and after (1981 was the year the category was created).
One immediate major snub is 1987’s Evil Dead II. Mark Shostrom did an excellent job creating the Deadite makeup designs for the actors, especially for Bruce Campbell (prosthetics for his head and hands, particularly the possessed hand), Ted Raimi (prosthetics for the head and the fat body suit for the possessed Henrietta character), and Denise Bixler (the makeup for her possessed head). The work on possessed Henrietta alone should’ve gotten Shostrom a nod, and it’s unfortunate that it didn’t since he has never been nominated by the Academy (not prior to this film, and not after).
The actual nominees at the 60th Academy Awards were:
Harry and the Hendersons – Rick Baker (*Winner)
Happy New Year– Bob Laden
Another major snub that comes to mind would be 1990’s Nightbreed (which arrived in theaters in a butchered form against Clive Barker’s wishes). The work done here by Bob Keen and Geoffrey Portass is almost unparalleled (especially when it came out). All the various creature designs and prosthetics for the sympathetic monsters of Midian (who are really just social outcasts) are among the best that have ever graced a motion picture, and this film should have easily won here, but sadly it wasn’t even nominated. Both Keen and Portass have never been nominated for an Oscar.
The actual nominees at the 63rd Academy Awards were:
Dick Tracy – John Caglione Jr. & Doug Drexler (*Winner)
Cyrano De Bergerac – Michelle Burke & Jean-Pierre Eychenne
Edward Scissorhands – Ve Neill & Stan Winston
There was a lot of prosthetic work that went into 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence that one might not suspect. Makeup artists Ve Neill and Joel Harlow, with key hair stylist Candace Neal, did subtle makeup designs for the robotic characters using plasticized facial makeup that couldn’t crack or melt during filming. For the damaged robots, actors without limbs were cast and given special prosthetic armatures and limbs (rather than use fully formed actors and use digital tools to erase certain limbs from them). It’s such a shame that this film went unrecognized in this category. Neill is an eight-time nominee (5 nods for 1990’s Edward Scissorhands, 1992’s Hoffa and Batman Returns, 2003’s Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and 2007’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, 3 wins for 1988’s Beetlejuice, 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, and 1994’s Ed Wood). Harlow is a one-time nominee (he won for 2009’s Star Trek). Neal has never been nominated.
The actual nominees at the 74th Academy Awards were:
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Richard Taylor & Peter Owen (*Winner)
A Beautiful Mind – Greg Cannom & Colleen Callaghan
Moulin Rouge – Maurizio Silvi & Aldo Signoretti
Michael Westmore has done phenomenal work for all of the Star Trek TV series and movies he’s been a part of. His contributions for 2002’s Star Trek: Nemesis are nothing less than stellar. He designed prosthetic makeup for two new alien races, the Kolarans and the Nosferatu-inspired Remans, and did additional prosthetic work to make Tom Hardy resemble Patrick Stewart as much as possible. It’s hard to believe this film didn’t get nominated here (especially when you look at who was nominated). Westmore is a four-time nominee (3 nods for 1984’s 2010, 1986’s The Clan of the Cave Bear, and 1996’s Star Trek: First Contact, 1 win for 1985’s Mask).
The actual nominees at the 75th Academy Awards were:
Frida – John Jackson & Beatrice De Alba (*Winner)
The Time Machine – John M. Elliott Jr. & Barbara Lorenz
Another under-appreciated effort and major snub was Greg Cannom’s work for 2009’s Watchmen. Cannom faithfully captures the looks of all the various heroes and villains from the graphic novel with effective prosthetic work, including old-age makeup for Jeffrey Dean Morgan (as the Comedian), Carla Gugino (as Silk Spectre I), and Robert Wisden (who played Richard Nixon with an exaggerated makeup design that was funny in a good way). It’s a shame that the film didn’t get nominated. Cannom himself is a nine-time nominee (6 nods for 1991’s Hook, 1992’s Hoffa, 1995’s Roommates, 1997’s Titanic, 1999’s Bicentennial Man, and 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, 3 wins for 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1993’s Mrs. Doubtfire, and 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
The actual nominees at the 82nd Academy Awards were:
Star Trek – Barney Burman, Mindy Hall, & Joel Harlow (*Winner)
Il Divo – Aldo Signoretti & Vittorio Sodano
The Young Victoria – John Henry Gordon & Jenny Shircore
Other films that were considered include 1990’s Darkman, 2001’s Planet of the Apes, and 2002’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
[NOTE: Planet of the Apes is only an honorable mention because Rick Baker is a seven-time winner, otherwise it would’ve been one of the five films mentioned above. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is only an honorable mention because the Academy deemed it ineligible in this category (due to not enough differentiation from the work done for 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring).]