Ever since the emergence of CGI a lot of people have come to fetishize effects that are real and practical. This category isn’t necessarily covering all forms of practical effects work, but makeup is certainly part of that realm. This year things took a turn for the bloody, and four of the five nominees here are depicting some form of injury or bloodshed.
- Lee Daniels’ The Butler: This film is set over the course of almost the entirety of the twentieth century, and as such the hair and makeup on Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and other actors changes dramatically with the years. Additionally many actors like Robin Williams and Alan Rickman are made to look a lot like various presidents. The one thing holding this makeup back is that it doesn’t really work on actor David Oyelowo late in the movie.
- Evil Dead: There’s always on nominee in this category which pretty much just represents the best in slasher movie gore makeup, and this year that fall pretty firmly onto this remake of Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead. This film is full of over the top splattery bloodletting, with each scene more intentionally nauseating than the last. It’s not easy to create all the tongue splitting chainsaw slicing mayhem that’s on the screen here, but these people achieve it seamlessly.
- Prisoners: Though its ostensibly a drama, the movie Prisoners takes a grisly turn when the Hugh Jackman character begins to torture Paul Dano’s character in order to get information out of him. Dano’s face eventually becomes more and more battered and misshapen as this continues, and it gets really disturbing really quick. We don’t actually see this makeup very often in the film (Dano’s character is often hidden) so the makeup artist makes the few glimpses we get count.
- Rush: For much of its first half the makeup in the movie Rush consisted of some relatively simple touches that made everyone look period accurate and made the principal actors look as much like the real people they were playing as possible. It was solid but nothing award worthy. Then midway through the film one of the characters has a bad crash and for the rest of the film the makeup artists have to realistically render his burn wounds, and that’s what pushes the work into contention.
- World War Z: Zombies have been done to death, especially in the last couple years. That’s why it’s cool that they were able to do something that was just a little bit different with the zombies in World War Z. These undead monsters look more sick than decayed, they’re characterized by the black blood that runs through their veins, which you can see coursing beneath their skin. This black blood doubles as a way around censorship and as a cool makeup effect.