Though CGI characters are all the rage these days, there are still a lot of movie that opt to use high-end makeup effects in order to create interesting and fantastical things. This year there’s a distinct battle at work between makeup effects that strictly look “real” and effects that look “interesting.”
- Cloud Atlas: If there were an award for “most” makeup Cloud Atlas would have it locked down. With thirteen actors playing sixty-one separate roles (many of them crossing racial and gender lines) there’s no doubt that the makeup team behind this film had a massive undertaking. The catch is that the results can be a little inconsistent, some of the makeup jobs look great but some of them (especially the cross racial ones) can look rather awkward.
- Holy Motors: The makeup in Holy Motors is unique because the act of applying said makeup is actually a part of the film’s story. Over the course of the film its protagonist wears a variety of costumes and disguises and many of them involve elaborate makeup applications that certainly look very real. By doing so he creates a number of interesting “characters” that seem distinct but which are really just the creations of the film’s true protagonist.
- Kill List: Gore effects. Almost every year a movie gets into this category for having the nastiest looking blood and gore and Kill List easily gets that trophy this year. I’m not going to go into much more detail because I don’t want to spoil any of the grisly imagery, but it should be said that if their goal was to unsettle their audience’s stomach this makeup department most certainly succeeded.
- Lincoln: Though his Oscar campaign would like you to think that Daniel Day-Lewis managed to look like our sixteenth amendment through a combination of the Stanislavski method and sheer willpower, but the truth of the matter is that he was made to look like that through the application of high end make-up effects. Additionally, the makeup team does a lot of work to give everyone else in the film a distinctly old-timey look.
- Prometheus: There’s some iffy old age makeup on Guy Pearce, but beyond that there’s some really interesting prosthetic work going on with this film’s makeup. This is especially true in the case of the “Engineer” characters which are these sort of grey funny looking muscle-bound guys. Beyond that there are some interesting bits with mutated humans, slug things that try to eat you, and other assorted bits of wholesome goodness.