Musings on the culture of keeping up appearances

All the Rage

« Previous Post | All The Rage Home | Next Post »

Oscars' best makeup nominees: Why so few?

Melanie Laurent
There are a whopping 10 best picture nominees up for this year's Academy Awards -- and five nominees for every other major category, including best costume.

So why are there only three paltry nominees up for the best makeup title?

The contenders, "The Young Victoria," "Star Trek," and "Il Divo," are all worthy candidates. But clearly Oscar's overlooking some impressive cosmetic achievements.

It's true that lipstick didn't command a starring role in gritty movies like "The Soloist" or "Precious." And "Avatar's" blue people were created with mouses, not makeup.

Sandra bullock blind side But how great was Sandra Bullock's frosted, Texas-style makeover in "The Blind Side?" Or Melanie Laurent's and Diane Kruger's flawless '40s makeup in "Inglorious Basterds?" Not to mention Stanley Tucci's sweaty creepiness in "The Lovely Bones" and the retro glamour girls of "Nine."

Perhaps it's the shortage of prosthetics-based makeup jobs. Past winners in the category have almost always boasted masterfully executed aging, as in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which took the prize last year, or feats of fantastical monstrosities, as in the case of "Pan's Labyrinth" in 2007.

But even facing a shortage of sci-fi and fantasy flicks, surely Oscar could round out a quintet of deserving nominees.

Who do you think deserves to be included in the best makeup category?

-- Emili Vesilind

Follow All the Rage on Facebook and Twitter

Top photo: Melanie Laurent in "Inglorious Basterds." Photo credit: Francois Duhamel / The Weinstein Co. Bottom photo: Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw in "The Blind Side." Photo credit: Ralph Nelson / Warner Bros.

Comments () | Archives (12)

The comments to this entry are closed.

It has been such a tired catagory. When "Mommie Dearest" wasn't nominated for Best Makeup, back in the day, how was it ever to be taken seriously as a catagory.

Just a few ideas for this year:

District 9 - Which the Academy went for in a big way, perhaps there was too much CG that the make up committee disqualified it? Still the transformation makeup was a huge part of its story.

Inglourious Basterds - As mentioned in the story, not just for it's 40's female makeup, but also for the various scalping/blood effects.

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond - While effects and hair pieces largely dominate this category, glamour makeup deserves recognition as well. And the period makeup and hairstyles here are even more impressive on the miniscule budget it had.

The Road - Unfairly snubbed across the board, but its emaciation make up effects were flawless and a big part of its story.

I think the make-up committee needs to be replaced.
This isn't the first time less than a handful of pictures were nominated.
Of all the movies that came out and yes 10 for best picture - ONLY 3??
What about District 9 the lead actor alone went through a fantastic transformation, Bright Star, The Last Station, Crazy Heart, Sherlock Holmes, even MOON had great make-up on Sam Rockwell! Come on people don't be such snooty snobs.

New judges please!
I remember when FRIDA won this category. Nice movie, but ... was it THAT difficult to paste the eyebrows??

It would have been nice if you had done some research here, as the makeup category usually is limited to 3 nominees (with the exception of a couple of years when there were only 2 and one year when there was 4). And it isn't the only category that is strangely truncated, look at the visual effects, also limited to only 3 nominees.

And Tom, the makeup category didn't exist in 1980 when "Mommie Dearest" came out. Its first year was 1981.

As you've pointed out - there seems to be a propensity with this branch to honor effects makeup work and that is why I find this category to be so aggravating. They really should consider splitting it into two categories - Makeup and Special Effects Make Up.

Movie_Dearest - I concur! How ridiculous is it, especially nowadays with movies relying so heavily on special effects, and seemlessly too, that Special Effects is restricted to 3 nominees?! The same, in my estimation, goes for Make Up. Still, I think that the Make Up branch needs to fine tune just what their award is about because in reality it should be designated as Special Effects Make Up seeing as more times than not that is what they choose to honor.

It has always been 3 and Inglorious Basterds should have been one of them.

I really hope that Inglorious Basterds gets best picture and best director -- it is so inventive, thrilling and just the BEST.

Some times a lack of knowledge is a dangerous thing.
It is one thing for the readers to not know the workings of th Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Scieces and the history of Oscar nominations, but when a supposed authority like Emili Visilind writes the groundwork should be done first.
Since the Oscar for Best Makeup was given as an annual event starting in 1981 the Rules of the Academy have called for a maxim of three nominated films. One reader is correct that in 1999 there was a tie and therefore 4 nominees.
To inform better, every year according to the rules there are a maximum of 7 films that are selected by the Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Branch, this year on January 9th. Besides the 3 nominated films the branch was also voting on "District 9", "The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus", "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian", and "The Road". So you see many of the films listed by the readers were certainly under consideration and each of them wonderfull work by great artists.
As the more knowlegeable reader knows, there have been many films through the years that were not "heavy prosthetic" films. Examples:Them Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End,The Sea Inside, Pirates and Commander, Pirates of the Caribbea: The Curse of the Black Pear, The Time Machine, Moulin Rouge,The Cell, Topsy-Turvey, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth, Titanic, Mrs. Brown, and the year The Young Victoria.
I certainly hope this expains better the workings of the Makeup Artist and Haistylist Branch and the great deal of work the branch does always attempting to recognize outstanding work in the areas of makeup and hairstyling. Every year there is beautifyl work accomplished on many films. The branch must narrow it down to the three most oustanding.
As a side note, there is only one Acadmey Member nominated out of this group of 7 nominees, and that is Aldo Signotretti from Italy for Il Divo.

How bout a little research and actually attempting to answer the question posed in the headline?

what a great actress sandra bullock is!!!

There seems to be a propensity with this branch to honor effects makeup work and that is why I find this category to be so aggravating. They really should consider splitting it into two categories - Makeup and Special Effects Make Up.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


Tweets and retweets from L.A. Times staff writers.