Such an interesting category as the tides keep turning and crashing into each other.
Between Dune‘s Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and House of Gucci‘s Paolo Gucci, the layers of prosthetics and padded suits are right in the Academy’s wheelhouse. For the latter, as the film’s only nomination it stands little chance of prevailing here.
Cruella is the likely costume design winner and won the makeup and hairstyling guild award for period/character makeup over the likes of fellow Oscar nominees Dune, House of Gucci and The Eyes of Tammy Faye. But no one was prepared for the clean sweep that Coming 2 America made at the MUAHs, winning all three categories it was nominated for, including special effects makeup, again over the fellow Oscar competition like Dune, House of Gucci and The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
Since 2013, when it became a regular category, the MUAH winner of the special effects makeup has gone on to win the Oscar four times and only once lost to a fellow Oscar nominee (2016’s Star Trek Beyond losing to Suicide Squad).
In the grand scheme of the Oscars, the makeup and hairstyling category has only existed in the latter half of the existence of the Academy Awards and up until just two years ago only had three nomination slots. Winners have widely ranged from films with heavy prosthetics to tell their story (the three-year run from 2017-2019 of Darkest Hour, Vice and Bombshell) to post-apocalyptic sci-fi (2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road) to some of the most minimalist makeup to ever triumph here (2013’s Dallas Buyers Club). We have often seen a connection between this award and a main acting winner like Meryl Streep’s transformation into British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 2011’s The Iron Lady or both of the aforementioned films Darkest Hour and Dallas Buyers Club.
Winners here as their film’s sole nomination definitely happen but generally in a field without a Best Picture nominee or if they’re designed by 7-time winner Rick Baker.
But that tide I spoke of earlier has turned, rather dramatically, to the garish but accurate makeup designs of The Eyes of Tammy Faye and the layers of makeup attached to Best Actress nominee Jessica Chastain to achieve the look of the one of the most memorable figures of the 1980s, televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. It all makes me think about Meryl Streep’s iconic Thatcher line “The pearls are absolutely non-negotiable,” and how Chastain’s Tammy has “My eyelashes stay right where they are.”
The film’s makeup and hair designs won both the BAFTA and Critics’ Choice last weekend and have propelled it to the top of my list as the winner attached to a star turn.
[UPDATED]: As one of the eight categories the Academy forced Oscar producers and showrunners to take off the live show and be handed out during the red carpet, Jessica Chastain has announced she will not be doing red carpet press on Oscar day to support her team.
Here are my ranked final Oscar predictions in Makeup and Hairstyling.
- The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Searchlight Pictures) – CCA, BAFTA, MUAH (3x)
Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh
- Dune (Warner Bros/HBO Max) – CCA, BAFTA, MUAH (2x)
Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
- Cruella (Walt Disney) – CCA, BAFTA, MUAH
Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon
- Coming 2 America (Amazon Studios) – MUAH (3x)
Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer
- House of Gucci (MGM/UAR) – CCA, BAFTA, MUAH (3x)
Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras