Having served as the head of makeup of the Oscars telecast for 19 years, Emmy-nominated makeup artist Bruce Grayson has seen his share of cosmetic meltdowns on Hollywood’s biggest night.
For the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, Grayson will oversee a team of 20 makeup artists, whose main mission is to touch up the presenters before they appear onstage, as well as the winners that need a fast fix before heading to the press room.
“It’s the Super Bowl of awards shows,” Grayson tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I feel like I’m the Boy Scout of makeup artists; I always come prepared! We deal with a lot of tears. There are tears of joy and tears of sadness. The repairing of eye makeup is what we do the most of."
On show night, he “can’t live without” blotting papers, a Beautyblender makeup sponge, top-notch translucent powder by Chanel or Giorgio Armani, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation and four eyeliner pens by MAC, Stila and Armani.
More unexpected items in his kit include styptic powder and liquid bandages to treat shaving nicks and cuts; at least six types of eyedrops to lubricate, treat redness and accommodate various contact lenses; and a vast collection of breath mints, sprays and strips.
A memorable moment last year occurred when Grayson lost a bet with 2018 Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro over who would take home the best director prize in 2019, and del Toro (who accurately predicted Alfonso Cuarón) came back to collect his $5. “And there have been many years when Meryl Streep came in to watch the whole show in the privacy of our little makeup room with us, rather than with everybody in the green room, because it can get so noisy in there,” he says.
As for trends to expect at the 2020 Oscars, Grayson says, “It wouldn’t be the Oscars unless we saw a red lip. Right now, matte lipstick is very popular on the carpet, so I’m curious to see who wears a great matte reddish-brown lipstick to contrast with a gown. That’s a look I love.”
Here are Grayson’s favorite beauty looks at the Oscars during the past decade.