Best Makeup for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

An Oscar I approve of: Best Makeup for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

It wasn’t until 1981 that the Academy finally established a permanent award for Best Makeup. The timing of that is no coincidence: “The makeup people let out such a protest that the board promised to look into setting up a regular Award for Best Makeup the following year, but it wouldn’t relent on its refusal to give a statuette to The Elephant Man.” (Inside Oscar, p 591-592).

That they would wait this long to create such an award is bizarre given that the history of great makeup is almost as long as the history of film. Part of the mystique of Lon Chaney was that not only was he “the man of 1000 faces”, but that he created those faces. Even if the Academy never rewarded his acting, they could have acknowledged his enormous talent in the makeup field. Instead his great films (including pre-AA films like Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera) join the list of great makeup jobs before 1981: the creatures in Bride of Frankenstein, the amazing things in The Wizard of Oz, the brilliance in Children of Paradise and La Belle et la Bette, the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the demon makeup in The Exorcist, all of the creatures in the Cantina in Star Wars, and of course, all of the skin on poor David Merrick in The Elephant Man.

Grade – Winners: B+ / Nominees: B / Seen: 100%.

Honor Roll: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Shame Roll: An American Werewolf in London / Heartbeeps / Click / Norbit (the worst film ever nominated for an Academy Award)

This category has taken a hit in its grade the last few of years for nominating Norbit and Click for fat suits while ignoring The Fountain and Sweeney Todd.

Top Makeup Artists:

  1. Rick Baker  –  160 points  (6 Oscars, 10 nominations)
  2. Greg Cannum  –  120 points  (3 Oscars, 9 nominations)
  3. Ve Neill  –  90 points  (3 Oscars, 6 nominations)
  4. Michele Burke  –  80 points  (2 Oscars, 6 nominations)

This is still a pretty specialized field of nominees, as only 10 people have received more than 2 nominations (Aldo Signoretti joining that list this year with his 3rd nomination).

1964 AA: Seven Faces of Dr Lao (special award)

1968 AA: Planet of the Apes (special award)

1981 AA: An American Werewolf in London, Heartbeeps

1981 me: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Excalibur

note:  Rick Baker wins the first competitive award for Best Makeup.  This will get to be a regular thing.

1982 AA: Quest for Fire, Gandhi

1982 me: Quest for Fire, Bladerunner

1984 AA: Amadeus, Greystoke, 2010

1984 me: Amadeus, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Dune

1985 AA: Mask, The Color Purple, Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins

1985 me: Ran, Mask, Brazil

1986 AA: The Fly, Legend, Clan of the Cave Bear

1986 me: Aliens, The Fly, Legend

1987 AA: Harry and the Hendersons, Happy New Year

1987 me: The Princess Bride, The Last Emperor

1988 Oscar and Nighthawk winner: with artistry like this how could Beetlejuice not win?

1988 AA: Beetlejuice, Scrooged, Coming to America

1988 me: Beetlejuice, Dangerous Liasions, Last Temptation of Christ

1989 AA: Driving Miss Daisy, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dad

1989 me: Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Batman, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

1990 AA: Dick Tracy, Edward Scissorhands, Cyrano de Bergerac

1990 me: Dick Tracy, Edward Scissorhands, Akira Kurosawa’s Dreams

1991 AA: Terminator 2, Hook, Star Trek VI

1991 me: Terminator 2, Addams Family, Silence of the Lambs

1992 AA: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Batman Returns, Hoffa

1992 me: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Batman Returns, Unforgiven

1993 AA: Mrs Doubtfire, Schindler’s List, Philadelphia

1993 me: Schindler’s List, Army of Darkness, Farewell My Concubine

1994 AA: Ed Wood, Forrest Gump, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

1994 me: Interview with the Vampire, Ed Wood, Adventures of Priscilla

1995 AA: Braveheart, My Family, Roommates

1995 me: An Awfully Big Adventure, 12 Monkeys, Farinelli (worst year for Makeup)

1996 AA: Nutty Professor, Star Trek: First Contact, Ghosts of Mississippi

1996 me: The English Patient, Birdcage, Ridicule

note:  Gene Siskel once referred to old-age makeup as the art of taking a young actor and making him look like a turtle (a quote that Roger Ebert enjoys bringing up).  I am stunned that the old-age makeup in Ghosts of Mississippi was thought to be more award worthy than the burn makeup in The English Patient, the everyday makeup of The Birdcage or the 18th Century French designs of Ridicule.

1997 AA: Men in Black, Titanic, Mrs Brown

1997 me: Fifth Element, Men in Black, Kundun

1998 AA: Elizabeth, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare in Love

1998 me: Saving Private Ryan, Elizabeth, Velvet Goldmine

1999 AA: Topsy-Turvy, Life, Bicentennial Man, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me

1999 semi-finalist not nominated: Blast from the Past

1999 me: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Sleepy Hollow, Topsy-Turvy, Fight Club

2000 AA: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Shadow of the Vampire, The Cell

2000 semi-finalists not nominated: Bedazzled, Cast Away

2000 me: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, X-Men

2001 AA: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, A Beautiful Mind

2001 semi-finalists not nominated: A.I., Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, Hannibal, Planet of the Apes

2001 me: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, Planet of the Apes

2002 AA: Frida, The Time Machine

2002 me: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Gangs of New York

2003 AA: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World

It was the more subtle effects, like the wear and tear on Frodo and Sam that earned this Oscar for Return of the King

2003 semi-finalists not nominated: Cold Mountain, Monster, The Last Samurai, Peter Pan

2003 me: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Kill Bill Volume 1

2004 AA: Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Mar Adentro, Passion of the Christ

2004 semi-finalists not nominated: The Aviator, De-Lovely, Hellboy, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

2004 me: Hellboy, House of Flying Daggers, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

2005 AA: Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Cinderella Man

2005 semi-finalists not nominated: A History of Violence, The Libertine, Mrs. Henderson Presents, A New World

2005 me: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Memoirs of a Geisha, King Kong

2006 AA: Pan’s Labyrinth, Apocalypyto, Click

2006 semi-finalists not nominated: Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Prestige, The Santa Clause 3, X-Men: Last Stand

2006 me: Pan’s Labyrinth, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, The Fountain

2007 AA: La Vie en Rose, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Norbit

2007 semi-finalists not nominated: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Sweeney Todd, 300

2007 me: Sweeney Todd, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, La Vie en Rose

2008 AA: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army

2008 semi-finalists not nominated: The Reader, Synecdoche New York, Tropic Thunder, The Wrestler

2008 me: the same as the Academy The Dark Knight, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Let the Right One In

2009 AA: Star Trek, The Young Victoria, Il Divo

2009 semi-finalists not nominated:  District 9, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, The Road

2009 me:  The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, District 9, Star Trek

note:  This is probably Star Trek‘s best chance to finally win an Oscar.  So far, the Star Trek films are a combined 0 for 10 at the Academy Awards and with Avatar not in there as a competitor, this is the big chance.

Honorary Mentions: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)