I don’t really have a Best Special Effects award because it would be boring as hell to just give that out to the most expensive movie of every year but I do like to give out an award for cool makeup effects. Increasingly I’ve come to incorporate hair-styling into the award as that often plays into the overall look of a character just as much as the makeup.
- Creed: We’ve seen a million movies where boxers get increasingly bruised and swollen over the course of a tough fight, but this one sort of seems to take it to the next level in the film’s final climactic fight where Adonis Creed’s eye seems to puff up as if there was a damn baseball underneath his skin. It does go to show just how determined this guy is to prove himself.
- The Hateful Eight: This being a Quentin Tarantino film there’s certainly some blood and gore for the makeup artists to indulge in and the certain bit that recalls Brian De Palma’s Carrie certainly helped, but this nomination actually had less to do with the makeup than with the hair styling. Namely I dug the wacked out old-timey beards that the movie gave to a bunch of the cast members which gave the film a certain surreal period detail.
- Macbeth: There are some neat little gore effects in this but that isn’t what really got it this nomination. Really there isn’t much in the way of really showy makeup effects here at all, but I wanted to highlight it anyway for how it was able to use a couple of less obvious makeup decisions like covering the titular king in war paint during the battles or adding blue around Lady Macbeth’s eyes to give the whole film a more rustic and tribal feel.
- Mad Max: Fury Road: It’s never made explicitly clear what caused the apocalypse in the Mad Max franchise but it seems to have caused some ill effects on the inhabitants of the wasteland. There are people in the movie that seem to almost be mutated and tumored, but there are other cool effects to be found as well like the bald and slightly ghostlike War Boys and vaguely albino-like Immortan Joe as well as some nice touches like the old lady with the complicated face tattoo or the black grease paint on Furiosa.
- The Revenant: The Revenant is one of those movies where a character goes from being somewhat healthy to being really messed up and injured by the end. It obviously starts after the bear attack where Di Caprio is covered with claw marks and continues after he finds himself starved and exhausted and finally finds himself covered in horse guts. The hairdressing is quality as well with more gangly beards and period haircuts.