Oscars: A Look at the Work Behind the Hair and Makeup Contenders

9:45 AM 12/22/2017

by Carolyn Giardina

The shortlist, announced on Tuesday, include 'Darkest Hour,' 'Ghost in the Shell' and 'I, Tonya.'

'Darkest Hour,' 'I, Tonya' and 'Ghost in the Shell'
'Darkest Hour,' 'I, Tonya' and 'Ghost in the Shell'
Courtesy of Focus Features; NEON and 30WEST; Paramount

On Tuesday, it was announced that seven films advanced in the Oscar race for the makeup and hairstyling category. Here's a look at these films.

  • 'Bright'

    Jonas Stolpe

    Joel Edgerton plays an Orc on the police force in the Netflix sci-fi release. Says FX makeup department head Christopher Nelson: "Joel Edgerton is an extremely expressive and emotional actor, and though it was necessary to completely cover him in prosthetics, it was challenging and paramount to maintain the emotional arc of the character throughout the film under his other-worldly skin."

  • 'Darkest Hour'

    Gary Oldman in 'Darkest Hour'
    Gary Oldman in 'Darkest Hour'
    Courtesy of Focus Features

    To transform Gary Oldman into British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the WWII drama, the work started with research — reading and viewing documentaries, while gathering images and film clips. “I sculpted facial prosthetics consisting of the neck, cheeks, nose and chin. I also designed a body suit to match his unique body shape. Gary also worn very finely crafted wig that changed the actor’s facial and head shape similar to former British prime minister," reports Kazuhiro Tsuji, Oldman’s prosthetics, makeup and hair designer. The makeup team provided the finishing touches.

  • 'Ghost in the Shell'

    Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell'
    Scarlett Johansson in 'Ghost in the Shell'
    Courtesy of Paramount.

    Based on the Japanese manga, Ghost in the Shell follows Major (Scarlett Johansson ), who needed “a flawless, slightly inhuman quality to her 'shell,' " says Jane O’Kane, make-up and hair designer. “Working with Deborah Lamir Denevar [Johansson’s personal artist] we used products to even the skin tone, then applied reflective and luminous pigments to give a subtle layering and synthetic quality to the skin. Major was able to connect with and transfer data via a port in her neck, this was mostly a 3D silicone prosthetic application or otherwise a 2D tattoo created for wider shots.” The wig reflects the original manga character.

  • 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2'

    Courtesy of Marvel Studios/Disney

    One of the new characters in the sequel was TaserFace, the leader of the Ravager uprising. “As [with] the rest of James Gunn’s galaxy, [Gunn] wanted to make sure that the color scheme for TaserFace was fun and bright. Laura Dandridge, my makeup application partner on this character went through three different makeup tests with actor Chris Sullivan [who sat in makeup for 2 1/2 hours each day]  before landing on the [color scheme and design]," says prosthetic makeup department head Brian Sipe of Legacy Effects. Legacy's work inclulded the sculpture (Chris Swift)  teeth (John Cherevka)  fabrication of the prosthetics (Damien Fischer and Cory Czekav’s teams) and contact lenses (Christina Patterson).

  • 'I, Tonya'

    Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya'
    Margot Robbie in 'I, Tonya'

    Margo Robbie plays disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding from her teens through her 40s. This included four different wigs. “I permed each one twice to give the hair the same texture as Tonya's [and used] the same color techniques that were used in the early ‘90s.” says Adruitha Lee, hair stylist/hair designer and department head. For Harding’s competitive years, makeup department head Deborah Lamia Denaver duplicated her look. For present day scenes, Robbie wore prosthetics to alter her look and her weight, including a nose piece, cheek pieces, chin and eye bags and a wrap-around neck piece.

  • 'Victoria & Abdul'

    Eddie Izzard in 'Victoria & Abdul'
    Eddie Izzard in 'Victoria & Abdul'
    Focus Features/Photofest

    This period film follows the relationship between Queen Victoria and her servant Abdul Karim. As Prince Bertie, Eddie Izzard (pictured)" wore a full face beard that was mostly created using a daily laid on hair technique to withstand the scrutiny of  the 4K camera thus avoiding gauze / netting showing. His hair was tinted darker and finger waved to style. His eyes were deeply contoured to give a hang  dogged expression and his face was highlighted to portray a rounded stoutly figure," says makeup and hair designer Daniel Phillips.

  • 'Wonder'

    Jacob Tremblay on set of 'Wonder'
    Jacob Tremblay on set of 'Wonder'
    Dale Robinette

    Jacob Tremblay, 9, plays lead Auggie Pullman, a boy born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, a condition that affects the face and eyes. Explains special effects makeup artist Arjen Tuiten, the young actor is wearing full silicone head, neck and face prosthetics with individually-punched eyebrows. Underneath the wig, he is wore a skullcap made of carbon fiber which contained a mechanism to pull his lower eyelids down so they appear droopy (this could be relaxed when it wasn’t shooting). Contact lenses to enlarge his irises, custom teeth and a hand-tied wig completed the look.

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