EXCLUSIVE: Best Makeup contenders narrow to seven

Posted by · 9:13 pm · January 5th, 2009

Luke Goss in Hellboy II: The Golden ArmyThe first bake-off of the season is here, narrowing the Oscar contenders for Best Makeup down to seven.  The finalists are:

“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“The Dark Knight”
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”
“The Reader”
“Synecdoche, New York”
“Tropic Thunder”
“The Wrestler”

No major surprises here.  My predicted three are still in the mix.  In fact, I missed the top seven in my chart by just one, “The Reader” in favor of “Frost/Nixon.”  But the show of support for “The Wrestler” is certainly telling, and perhaps a worthy inclusion, given the attention to brutal battle detail in the pro wrestling flick.

If there are any surprise omissions, it might be the aforementioned “Frost/Nixon,” or perhaps “W.”  Oh, and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”  I believe the first installment made it this far.  No go on the considerably less popular sequel.  But on the whole, this process seems to have been organic enough, leaving us with a solid septet.  I could see any combination of three making it in.

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21 responses so far

  • 1 1-05-2009 at 10:01 pm

    Chris said...

    The first Narnia film WON, so that’s a fairly significant omission, even though the sequel was less successful critically and commerically.

  • 2 1-05-2009 at 10:11 pm

    Matt said...

    Ouch for Narnia, which shows that the Oscars don’t remember the early 2008 blockbusters. This spells trouble for Indiana Jones 4.

  • 3 1-05-2009 at 10:53 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Oh yeah, that’s right. Thanks Chris!

  • 4 1-06-2009 at 12:36 am

    Brian Kinsley said...

    I don’t think make-up was one of Indy 4’s few threats.

    I would LOVE to see Hellboy II make it. The work on Hellboy and Abe Sapien was truly wonderful. And black face makes a make-up appearance!

  • 5 1-06-2009 at 1:19 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Hellboy was one of the visually stunning films of the year. That production design and make-up were amazing. Not nominating that would be a crime!
    So the final three:

    Synechdoche NY
    Hellboy II
    Benjamin Button

  • 6 1-06-2009 at 1:26 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “The Wrestler” is a really smart pick. It won’t make the nominee list, of course, but it’s nice to see subtle work recognised.

    I don’t see how “Frost/Nixon” could have made it, though.

  • 7 1-06-2009 at 6:36 am

    mike said...

    Really hope Hellboy 2 makes it, it was damn fine work. I also want Button there, not sure about my #3…

  • 8 1-06-2009 at 6:45 am

    Chase Kahn said...

    It will be ‘Button’, ‘Dark Knight’ (It’s too obvious not to be picked), and ‘Synecdoche’ — me thinks. I mean, everyone gets old in that movie, it’s got to be nominated.

  • 9 1-06-2009 at 7:19 am

    JAB said...

    hellboy, dark knight, button

  • 10 1-06-2009 at 7:59 am

    D. (with a full-stop) said...

    I expect Hellboy II to reach the final three — it’s amazingly well done and relies extremely on make-up, shunning CGI in its’ favour (some major CG elements from the first film, a whole central character even, have been replaced here with traditional costumography and makeup to great success).

    This could spell doom for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Dark Knight, though: both deliver some of their most memorable transformations via computer generated imagery — Harvey Dent’s disfigurement is, as I understand, 100% CG; same applies to a good extent to Benjamin’s youthing proccess. Still, both films have other memorable makeup moments, namely the iconic face of The Joker and the ever-changing ladies of Benjamin Button.

    Yet Synechdoche, New York might replace one of them, for the aging is done only through makeup and goes through more than 50 years of slight changes on the faces of the whole huge central cast of characters. It’s downside is the mixed reception it’s received.

    Tropic Thunder relies here, as per usual, on the power of Robert Downey, Jr.’s performance. He turned a one-off visual gag into a legendary character, and that gag is makeup powered; however, I don’t see it inching past the abovementioned overall much stronger contenders.

    The Wrestler and The Reader could appear on the shortlist depending on their success in the other categories (the mysterious ‘sweeping’ effect that happens in spite of every branch voting for its category separately.), but at the moment, that success is less than likely.

    So I say: The Dark Knight; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; Hellboy II; with a chance of Synechdoche, New York edging out any of them.

  • 11 1-06-2009 at 11:29 am

    Glenn said...

    Considering this branch’s penchant for embarassing themselves and the Academy at large, this bake off list is pretty good!

  • 12 1-06-2009 at 1:09 pm

    Joel said...

    Good ones:
    Benjamin Button (should win)
    Hellboy 2 (runner-up)
    Synecdoche, New York

    Wild Cards:
    Dark Knight (pretty much the Joker…and that’s it; really nothing else to sit up and notice of)
    The Reader (making people look old was done best in Ben Button and Synecdoche has also been renowned; this will fall by the wayside)
    Tropic Thunder (people are forgetting the unrecognizable Tom Cruise here; could replace Synecdoche)

    What the…:
    The Wrestler (it may be excellently done, but making someone look bloody is not going very far this year)

  • 13 1-06-2009 at 5:29 pm

    Glenn said...

    If they wanted to go for “make people look bloody” they should have gone with “Rambo”. Talk about bloody!

  • 14 1-07-2009 at 4:40 am

    Jim said...

    This category bores me the most. I don’t consider make-up unimportant but I think 1) Good make-up. So what? Does it really make a difference the way art direction does? 2) I want to get nominated. What do I have to do? Oh, yes. Let’s make someone old….

  • 15 1-07-2009 at 4:42 am

    D. said...

    Well, Jim, you’re sort of a wanker, aren’t you? Now run along and watch Pan’s Labyrinth twice more then ask again, does it make the difference the way art direction does?

  • 16 1-07-2009 at 5:24 am

    Jim said...

    Thank you for the kind way you expressed your disagreement.

    Anyway, I think this award is most of the times insignificant. It rarely is art of high level. For example, I don’t see anything great about the make up in Elizabeth. Of course there are exceptions. Lord of the Rings for example. I think you mean that monster from Pan’s Labyrinth. That was very good indeed. I don’t see how that is enough to prove I’m wrong.

    But even if I am wrong, I care more about being polite. Others dont’. We’re not all the same I guess.

  • 17 1-07-2009 at 5:30 am

    D. said...

    Sorry for tossing ‘wanker’ around (well, that’s a weird sentence), I meant it in a less rude way then it came out in writing.

  • 18 1-07-2009 at 6:03 am

    D. said...

    Wanking aside, I consider makeup one of the most artistic of the ‘artistic’ categories — involving less technology and more craft than some others. It’s like painting on a canvas.

    Have you ever taken a photograph of a regular person. Okay. Now imagine Atonement looking like that, with Keira’s surely uneven tan, and an ocasional pimple on James MacAvoy’s lovely nose. Makeup is much more than Hellboy’s huge head (however much that huge head may amaze me), it’s about every time you see Langella sweating with discomfort in Frost/Nixon, every time you see Scott-Thomas’ tired eyes in I’ve Loved you Yo Long and every time you see Hathaway standing next to DeWitt in Rachel Getting Married and see, without them speaking or moving, that Kym is a dark soul, while Rachel tries to maintain her cheer through her face.

    And again, ‘wanker’ is a much less offensive word than it sounded.

  • 19 1-08-2009 at 3:05 am

    Glenn said...

    “wanker” isn’t that offensive if you’re from Britain or Australia, I presume.