Richard Taylor has fun with one of his Oscar winning creations.

A Century of Film

Makeup has long been a part of film.  It was a key part of films back in the Silent Era with people like Lon Chaney doing their own makeup work.  Yet, somehow, it took until the 37th Academy Awards before they though it was worth rewarding and another 17 years before they decided it should be a permanent competitive award.  Is it a coincidence that the BAFTAs followed suit just a year later?  There is more on the various awards listed below.  But I should note that the Academy of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (the Saturn Awards) started giving out their own Makeup Award in 1973, long before the other groups, so kudos to them even if I don’t track their awards.

It can be a bit tricky to know who the great Makeup artists are in film history.  That’s not because of deciding which films have the best makeup but because of the way credits are done.  I have tried to give my own awards based on who was nominated (if a film’s makeup was nominated).  But even awards groups don’t always agree.  Peter Robb-King, for instance, was BAFTA nominated for his work on The Dark Knight (he is credited as Hair Designer / Makeup Designer) but the Oscars nominated John Caglione Jr (Makeup Artist: Mr. Ledger) and Conor O’Sullivan (Prosthetics Supervisor) so it isn’t always easy.  And that’s if you can even get the credits in the first place.  There are 30 films on my personal list including 16 Nighthawk nominees and 3 winners (Nosferatu, Children of Paradise, Eraserhead) in which there is no credited Makeup Artist (and the IMDb doesn’t even list uncredited ones for those films either).  I had to redo my own Top 10 lists after realizing I only listed Rick Baker for Star Wars and not Stuart Freeborn as well.  So, my awards and my list of great artists here are to the best of my ability correct.  But if this is your passion, feel free to chime in with what you think I have missed.

One other thing that I should mention and I kind of blame this on the Oscars.  Until 2012, the Oscar category was called Best Makeup.  It was then renamed Best Makeup and Hair Styling.  Because the Oscars took so long to recognize hair styling, I kind of ignored it as well.  Several BAFTA winners over the years that earn no points from me are reflected in that (see the BAFTA section) and it seems like I should apologize for that.

My Top 5 Makeup Jobs in Film History:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
  3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  4. The Elephant Man
  5. The Phantom of the Opera  (1925)

The other 9 Point Films (chronological):

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame  (1923)
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Children of Paradise
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Alien
  • Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Quest for Fire
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Aliens
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
  • Dick Tracy
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Moulin Rouge
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Pan’s Labyrinth

note:  I rate all aspects of film on a 9 point scale.  They also correspond to the 100 point scale for Best Picture.  Films above *** (76-99) all land on the scale.  1 point is for 76-79, just worth mentioning.  2 points is for 80-83, a weak mention, 3 points is for 84-87, near great, 4 points is for 88-89 (which is ****), a solid nominee, 5 points is for 90-91, a very solid nominee, 6 points is for 92-93, a weak winner, a 7 points is for 94-95, a worthwhile winner, 8 points is 96-97, the kind of winner you can’t complain about even if it’s not your #1 choice and 9 points is for 98-99, the very best of all-time.  The above list are my 9 point films for Makeup through 2011, listed chronologically.

“This rare photo illustrates the simplicity and effectiveness of Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera makeup. This photo is the only known picture to feature Chaney in a character make-up with his famous make-up case.” (A Thousand Faces, Michael F. Blake, p 148). (Blake’s book credits the photo to Seaver Center for Western History Research, Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History)


The Artists:

The Westmores

An entire book could be written about what the Westmore family did for Makeup in the film industry and they do take up the first chapter of Michael Westmore’s Makeup Man: From Rocky to Star Trek, the Amazing Creations of Hollywood’s Michael Westmore.  He writes about the family dynasty that his grandfather founded when he came out to Hollywood from London (via several stops and wig shops).  His father and uncles were in charge of Makeup departments throughout the film industry.  No less than five Westmores have earned Nighthawk nominations in this category.  George Westmore, the scion, worked on several silent films.  His sons include Monte (Scarface, Gone with the Wind), Perc (one Nighthawk, two other noms), Ern (62 films), Wally (the best of that generation), Bud (three noms) and Frank (The Ten Commandments) and then Monte’s three sons, Monty (an Oscar nom), Marvin (one Nighthawk nom) and Michael, who has an Oscar (and another Oscar nom) and was the head of Star Trek makeup for 18 years.  Anyone with an interest in Hollywood Makeup should definitely read Westmore’s book.  Michael’s daughter McKenzie is the host of Face Off, a show which should also interest anyone on the subject.
Key Films:  Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Wally), Island of Lost Souls (Wally), The Private Lives of Elisabeth and Essex (Perc), Yankee Doodle Dandy (Perc), The Man of a Thousand Faces (Bud), Spartacus (Bud), Blade Runner (Marvin), Mask (Michael), Hook (Monty), Star Trek: First Contact (Michael)

Lon Chaney

It’s hard to know precisely what we should be giving Lon Chaney credit for.  He supposedly did all of his own makeup but he was never given on-screen credit for this in any of his films.  The IMDb does list him with uncredited makeup work on Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Opera, London After Midnight and The Unholy Three.  The first two are the first two truly great makeup jobs on film (and are well documented as having been done by Chaney in Michael Blake’s books) and the third is the Nighthawk winner for 1927-28.  Even if those are the only four jobs he did makeup on, they are worth remembering him.  The work he did on the Hunchback and the Phantom still look great today and he provided himself with working faces where you could still get his expressions.  His makeup, brilliantly, didn’t impede the performance.
Key Films:  The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera

Jack P. Pierce

Pierce, the brilliant artist behind the legendary Universal monsters wins 4 Nighthawk Awards.  He was in 1st place in Makeup points at the Nighthawks from 1933 all the way until 1983.  He wins Nighthawks for Dracula, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein and The Phantom of the Opera.  Pierce is credited on 162 films.  He earns 8 Nighthawk nominations in total and if Horror films hadn’t gone out of vogue in the early 40’s he quite probably would have earned more.
Key Films:  The Man Who Laughs, Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Stuart Freeborn

The Oscars may have never gotten around to appreciating Stuart Freeborn but at least he did earn a BAFTA nomination late in his career for Return of the Jedi.  The Saturn Awards, though I don’t track them, at least appreciated Freeborn, giving him two awards.  Freeborn worked on 76 films over five decades, spanning from 1936 to 1987.  He wins five Nighthawks in all, for Thief of Bagdad, Oliver Twist, 2001, Star Wars and Return of the Jedi.  On Star Wars he created one of the most iconic made up characters in film history: “For the first three or four weeks, Freeborn worked alone on the movie’s most important prototype, Chewbacca, creating concepts and masks based on McQuarrie’s design.”  (The Making of Star Wars, J. W. Rinzler, p 111).
Key Films:  Thief of Bagdad, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Stars Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

Rick Baker

“Baker had started doing puppets and makeup for low-budget films like The Thing with Two Heads (1972) but had recently graduated to big-budget films with the remake of King Kong (1976).”  (The Making of Star Wars, J. W. Rinzler, p 249)  On the strength of that, Baker and his team were hired to do the Cantina creatures in Star Wars with the caveat that Stuart Freeborn would get the sole screen credit.  Screen credit wasn’t necessary as Baker got the reputation for masks and hair.  Baker’s rise in the industry perfectly coincided with the establishment of awards (he was 31 in 1981).  He has won 7 Oscars and leads the Oscar points by a long way.  He has won three BAFTAs and lead in points from 2000 to 2010.  He has won three Nighthawks and is tied for 3rd in points.  On the weighted scale, he is in 1st place at the Nighthawks.
Key Films:  Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, An American Werewolf in London, Ed Wood, Men in Black, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Peter Robb-King

Peter Robb-King has never really gotten his proper due.  He has one Oscar nomination (Legend), has won a BAFTA (Last of the Mohicans) and earned three other nominations.  But he is tied for 1st all-time at the Nighthawks with 140 points.  That’s because of winning Nighthawks for Return of the Jedi, Aliens, The Princess Bride and The Dark Knight and earning six other nominations.  His work has ranged from cult films (Rocky Horror) to Lucasfilm.
Key Films:  The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Aliens, The Princess Bride, The Last of the Mohicans, The Prestige, The Dark Knight

Ve Neill

Now more widely known because of her role as a judge on Face Off, Neill is also one of the most awarded makeup artists.  She is third in Oscar points and tied for second in BAFTA points.  She is 5th in Nighthawk points and 4th in weighted points.  She has done a lot of great work with Tim Burton (which won her two Oscars) and on the Pirates films.  She is also the link for the three most Oscar rewarded makeup artists as she won an Oscar with Rick Baker on Ed Wood and with Greg Cannom for Mrs. Doubtfire.  She is now the Director of Education at Cinema Makeup School.
Key Films:  Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Batman Forever, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

The Academy Awards:


As mentioned above, the Oscars chimed in with a special award in 1964 (Seven Faces of Dr Lau) and then again in 1968 (Planet of the Apes) before finally establishing a permanent award in 1981 after the protests over a lack of award for The Elephant Man the year before.  Since that time, they have given the award every year except 1983 with two nominees each in 1981 and 1982 and three nominees thereafter except for 1987, 2002 (two each) and 1999 (four).  Starting in 1999, the Academy started publishing a list, usually in December, of the “semi-finalists”, a list of seven films that would be competing for the three nomination spots.  Interestingly enough, they don’t appear to have made a list in 2002 and there were only the two nominees.

I am not going to list the entire field of Oscar nominees over the years because you can find it here and I already listed it here.  Plus it would take too long to type and make the post way too long.  The second list also includes my lists of nominees through 2009 though my annual Nighthawk Awards supersede that list as my lists are always fluid.


Tim Burton is the undisputed champ.  His films have won two Oscars (Beetlejuice, Ed Wood) and earned two other nominations (Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns).  Amazingly, since 1994, in spite of films like Sleepy Hollow, Planet of the Apes, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland, his films haven’t earned any more nominations, although the latter three of those were all on the short list before the nominations.  Steven Spielberg is the only other director with four nominations (The Color Purple, Hook, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) but none of his films have won.  Two other directors have tallied three nominations with one win each: Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto) and Ron Howard (How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man).  Through 2011, the only other director aside from Burton with two wins in his films is Peter Jackson (Fellowship, Return of the King).


The Makeup branch of the Academy doesn’t really seem inclined to reward the same franchises over and over.  While a number of franchises have won the Makeup Oscar, it’s usually for the first film (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Men in Black, Star Trek).  The only franchise to win multiple Oscars are the first and third Lord of the Rings films (and the middle film wasn’t even nominated).  Indeed, outside of Lord of the Rings, the only other franchises to even earn multiple nominations through 2011 were Batman (if you can count a Burton film and a Nolan film as part of the same franchise), Pirates (the first and third films) and Star Trek (VI, First Contact, the first of the new films).  Notable franchises with a single nomination include Terminator, Star Wars and Harry Potter.


The most successful genre is Drama which is no surprise because it has the most films.  But even with 26 nominations, that’s only 29.21% of all the nominations, far below the fact that Drama accounts for 42.83% of all Oscar nominated films.  Comedy has the second most nominations (18) but then come the two genres that really do well in Makeup: Fantasy (13) and Sci-Fi (10).  Those latter two account for 25% of all the Makeup nominations but less than 5% of all Oscar nominated films.  What’s more, while Drama and Comedy tie for the most wins (7 each), Fantasy is only one behind and Sci-Fi has four (as does Horror).  In fact, of the top genres, only Drama has a lower percentage of winning films than nominations.  Through 2011, the genres with no nominations at all in Makeup are Mystery, Suspense and Western while Crime (Il Divo), Kids (Hook) and War (Saving Private Ryan) account for only one each.  The last three all lost at the Oscars as did all three Adventure films, so fully half of all the genres have never won an Oscar in Makeup but there have only been 32 awarded through 2011.

Best Picture:

Four films have won the Oscar for Best Picture and Makeup: Amadeus, Driving Miss Daisy, Braveheart and Return of the King.  Six other Picture winners have earned nominations in Makeup (Gandhi, Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Shakespeare in Love, A Beautiful Mind).  With only 30 years of being a regular category that means 13% of the Picture winners have won the Oscar and another 25% have earned nominations which is better than some categories.  In addition, three Best Picture nominees have won the Makeup Oscar (Elizabeth, Fellowship of the Ring, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and four other nominees have earned Makeup nominations.  In both 1998 and 2001, all three of the Makeup nominees were Picture nominees and in both years the Picture winner didn’t win Makeup.

Foreign Films:

It took until 1990 before a Foreign language film earned an Oscar nomination (Cyrano de Begerac), until 2004 before another did (Mar Adentro, The Passion of the Christ) and until 2006 before one won the Oscar (Pan’s Labyrinth).  Through 2011, a total of six films have earned nominations and two won the Oscar (La Vie en Rose being the other).

Single Nominations:

Makeup has a high rate of films that earn no other nominations.  Of the 89 nominees through 2011, 33 of them received no other nominations.  That’s 37%, which is fourth highest among all the categories behind only Song, Animated Film and Foreign Film.  It is also, by far, the category where a nominee with no other nominations is most likely to win an Oscar, although that’s a function of only having three nominees.  Of those 33 films, 9 of them won the Oscar.  In no other category is that percentage higher than 18%.  In terms of having a winner with no other nominees (percentage of all Oscar winners in the category that won their only nomination), the percentage is almost the same because there have been 32 winners through 2011.  But in that sense, this category is only third because over 40% of all the Animated winners had no other nominations and almost 70% of all the Foreign film winners.  In the first few years of the category, the Makeup winner was almost always a single nominee.  Of the first 18 nominees (1981-88), 12 of them received no other nominations, including six of the first seven winners (there was no award in 1983).  In fact, Dick Tracy was the first winner to win more than one award and not win Picture since the other two winners to that point were Amadeus and Driving Miss Daisy.

Other Categories:

Doing the math, of course, 63% of films nominated for Makeup are nominated for some other award.  If it followed the standard deviation that other Oscar films do, then by far the next highest number would be 2 total nominations but there are actually as many films with 3 nominations as there are with two (12 each ).  Part of that is because films nominated for Makeup have a 1/4 chance of being nominated for Art Direction and Costume Design.  Of the 89 films nominated for Makeup, 31 of them were also nominated for Art Direction and 28 were nominated for Costume Design (with an overlap of 24 films).  No other category overlaps more than 21 times.  Yet, there’s a variety of films that earn all three nominations: Period Dramas (Amadeus, Elizabeth, Schindler’s List, The Color Purple), Fantasies (Lord of the Rings, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Series of Unfortunate Events, Hook), Sci-Fi (2010) and Horror (Bram Stoker’s Dracula).  What’s rare though is a for a film to win all three awards as only Amadeus and Return of the King have done that.

The Academy Awards Top 10:

  1. Rick Baker  –  180
  2. Greg Cannom  –  120
  3. Ve Neill  –  90
  4. Michele Burke  –  80
  5. Yolanda Toussieng  –  60
  6. Stan Winston  –  50
  7. Michael Westmore  –  50
  8. David Leroy Anderson  –  50
  9. Matthew W. Mungle  –  50
  10. Richard Taylor  –  40

note:  Wins are worth 20 points and nominations are worth 10.

Top 5 Oscar Winners:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  (2001)
  2. Dick Tracy  (1990)
  3. Bram Stoker’s Dracula  (1992)
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  (2003)
  5. Beetlejuice  (1988)

Top 5 Oscar Years:

  1. 2003  (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World)
  2. 2005  (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, Cinderella Man)
  3. 1998  (Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan)
  4. 2001  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, A Beautiful Mind)
  5. 2008  (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army)

Top 5 Oscars Years by Oscar Score:

  1. 2003  –  100  (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Master and Commander: Far Side of the World)
  2. 2008  –  100  (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
  3. 1998  –  91.3  (Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan)

note:  The difference between this list and the previous one is that the first one is a flat total based on my 9 point scale.  In this one, it’s comparing my top three films to the ones the Oscars actually nominated.  So, in the first one, it’s how good are the nominees.  In this one it’s how good are the nominees compared to what else was eligible.

Top 3 Films to win the Oscar (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  3. Ed Wood

Worst 3 Films to win the Oscar  (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. An American Werewolf in London
  2. The Iron Lady
  3. The Wolfman

Worst 5 Films to earn an Oscar nomination (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. Norbit
  2. An American Werewolf in London
  3. Click
  4. Heartbeeps
  5. Clan of the Cave Bear

Years in Which the Worst of the Nominees Won the Oscar:

  • 1993:  Mrs Doubtfire over Philadelphia and Schindler’s List
  • 1998:  Elizabeth over Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan

Most Puzzling Oscar Choices (1999-2011):

note:  Starting in 1999, the Oscars published a list of 7 semi-finalists before the actual 3 nominees were announced.  In the following cases, the actual Oscar choice was puzzling to say the least.

  • 2006:  Click nominated over The Prestige, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men’s Chest and X-Men: Last Stand
  • 2007:  Norbit nominated over Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • 2009:  Il Divo nominated over The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and District 9
  • 2010:  Barney’s Version and The Way Back nominated over BAFTA / BFCA winner Alice in Wonderland



It was only a year after the Oscars finally started giving out an award for Makeup that the BAFTAs followed suit.  Unlike the Oscars, it immediately became a regular category at the BAFTAs with a full set of four nominees which changed to five in 2000 when almost all the BAFTA categories did as well.  Because of different qualifying dates, sometimes Oscar winners would win the BAFTA in a different year or two competing Oscar films would both win the BAFTA in separate years.  The last year in which a film was nominated at the BAFTAs in a year different from when it was eligible at the Oscars was 1995 (Ed Wood, The Madness of King George).  I don’t know if the BAFTA Award was always called Best Makeup and Hair but it seems to be reflected in some of their winners in which the hair is more evident than the Makeup (The Name of the Rose, The Madness of King George, The Wings of the Dove).


The BAFTAs are a bit more inclined towards them than the Oscars are.  All three Lord of the Rings films earned nominations though only Fellowship won.  Also, five of the Harry Potter films have earned nominations though none of them won the award.


Like the Oscars, Drama is the big one here because it simply has the most films.  Close to 40% of all the nominees have been Dramas and they account for 43% of the winners.  Comedy and Fantasy are tied for 2nd in nominations with almost 16% each though Fantasy has 20% of the winners while Comedy only has 13%.  The only other significant genre is Musical, with 8.33% of the nominations and 10% of the winners.  No other genre has more than 8 nominations or two wins.  Sci-Fi does surprisingly weak here with only 5 nominations and no wins.

Best Picture:

The BAFTAs are much more inclined here than the Oscars.  While only three films have won both Picture and Makeup (Last Emperor, Fellowship of the Ring, Aviator), 15 more Picture winners have earned Makeup nominations.  Also, five Picture nominees have won Makeup and a whopping 25 films have been nominated for both.  Less than 20% of Makeup nominees at the Oscars have a Picture nomination as opposed to the over 36% at the BAFTAs.

Single Nominees:

The increase of Picture nominees is also reflected here with the vastly fewer single nominations.  Well over a third of Makeup nominees at the Oscars receive no other nominations.  At the BAFTAs it’s less than a tenth with only 10 films out of the 132 nominees earning no other nominations.  Of those 10 only two, Quest for Fire and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, managed to win the BAFTA.  The Oscars did that in the first two years of the category.  In fact, most of the Makeup winners have not just earned other nominations but won other awards.  From 1982 to 1992 only two winners failed to win any other awards: Quest for Fire and Greystoke.

Foreign Films:

The BAFTAs were on this before the Oscars.  The first nominee was Ran in 1986 which was also the first winner.  Overall, nine Foreign language films have been nominated and four of them have won the BAFTA (the other three are Cyrano de Bergerac, Pan’s Labyrinth and La Vie en Rose).

Other Categories:

Like the Oscars, the BAFTA nominees for Makeup are most likely to earn nominations for Art Direction (well over half of the Makeup nominees earn Art Direction nominations, 81 out of 132) or Costume Design (86).  In fact, exactly half of the Makeup nominees earn nominations for both Art Direction and Costume Design.  The odd thing is that while four films have won both Art Direction and Makeup and eight films have won both Costume Design and Makeup only one film has won all three.  Not only that, but that film, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, didn’t win any other awards other than those three.

The BAFTA Top 10:

  1. Jan Archibald  –  90
  2. Rick Baker  –  80
  3. Ve Neill  –  80
  4. Jenny Shircore  –  80
  5. Peter King  –  80
  6. Michele Burke  –  60
  7. Paul Engelen  –  60
  8. Morag Ross  –  60
  9. Ivana Primorac  –  50
  10. Amanda Knight / Peter Frampton / Fabrizio Sforza / Peter Owen  / Peter Robb-King  –  50

Top 5 BAFTA Winners:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  (2001)
  2. Dick Tracy  (1990)
  3. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen  (1989)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl  (2003)
  5. Pan’s Labyrinth  (2006)

Top 3 BAFTA Years  (4 Nominees):

  1. 1998  (Elizabeth, Velvet Goldmine, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan)
  2. 1989  (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dangerous Liaisons, Batman, My Left Foot)
  3. 1993  (Orlando, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Schindler’s List, The Addams Family Values)

Top 3 BAFTA Years  (5 Nominees):

  1. 2005  (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Memoirs of a Geisha, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Pride & Prejudice)
  2. 2001  (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Moulin Rouge, Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Gosford Park)
  3. 2002  (Frida, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Gangs of New York, The Hours, Chicago)

Years in Which the Worst of the Nominees Won the BAFTA:

  • 1991:  Cyrano de Bergerac over Edward Scissorhands, Dances with Wolves and The Addams Family
  • 1998:  Elizabeth over Shakespeare in Love, Velvet Goldmine and Saving Private Ryan

note:  Since Elizabeth ended up on this list and the Oscar list, I should point out it makes my Top 5 for the year and is a very good choice.  But it’s just, in my opinion, the wrong choice in this year because the other films for both the Oscar and the BAFTA were among the four films I ranked above it.

The Broadcast Film Critics Awards  (Critics Choice)


Like most of the Tech awards at the BFCA, this award only finally came into existence in 2009.  It began by awarding a film that neither the Oscar nor BAFTAs nominated (Avatar), followed that by agreeing with the BAFTAs on a film that the Oscars short-listed but did not nominate (Alice in Wonderland) and then not awarding a film that the Oscars and BAFTAs did agree on (Iron Lady) but actually agreed with the Nighthawk (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II).  Those latter two films are the only films in those three years to earn nominations from all three groups.  A full list of their nominees can be found here.  It appears that the BFCA doesn’t necessarily list the nominated artists as the IMDb also didn’t list the specific artists for a number of their nominations.

The Makeup Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards


The MUAHSG began giving an award in 1999, fairly late in the guild awards game.  For four years, they awarded films in six (and then seven) different categories.  Then, for some reason, they stopped.  After 2003, there were no more awards (until 2013, see below).  Sadly, their decision to award as many films as possible lead to some absolute dreck.  Here are films that I forced myself to see only because they were nominated here (and for nothing else and I hadn’t seen them already): The General’s Daughter, The Story of Us, The 13th Warrior, Bedazzled, The Nutty Professor II, The Princess Diaries, Sorority Boys, Sweet Home Alabama, Master of Disguise and The Cat in the Hat.  Because they have always had specific categories for Hairstyling, their top artists tend to have more hairstylists than the other awards groups.

The MUAHSG Top 4:

  1. Peter Own  –  90
  2. Peter King  –  70
  3. Toni G  –  60
  4. Terry Baliel  –  60

The Nighthawk Awards:

note:  Because my awards go, retroactively, all the way back through 1912, there are a lot more nominees and winners than in the other awards.  But I don’t always have a full slate of nominees and some years I don’t have any nominees.


Tim Burton is the top.  His films have earned 140 points with 10 nominations and 4 wins (Beetlejuice, Ed Wood, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland).  He is the only director with 4 wins though a few have won three (Peter Jackson, Akira Kurosawa and Michael Powell) and several have won two.  Terry Gilliam’s films have 9 nominations and two wins (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), Kurosawa has four other nominations and Spielberg’s films, though only Raiders won, have 10 nominations.  Those are the only director who have totaled 100 points with their films.


I am certainly much more inclined towards franchises than the Oscars.  I gave Nighthawks to all three Lord of the Rings films (and, after the scope of this, to all three Hobbit films).  Seven of the eight Harry Potter films earned nominations though only the second Deathly Hallows managed a win.  The first six Star Wars films all earned nominations and three of them (A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, Phantom Menace) won the Nighthawk.


While Drama is the #1 genre, with 23% of the nominees and 22.6% of the winners, it is far below the regular numbers just like at the Oscars (it accounts for 39% of all Nighthawk nominated films).  The big genres here are Horror, Fantasy and Sci-Fi.  They account for only 11% of all films nominated at the Nighthawks but account for 41% of the Makeup nominees (Horror: 16.23%, Fantasy: 14.94%, Sci-Fi: 10.39%) and over 43% of the winners (Horror: 18.99%, Fantasy: 12.66%, Sci-Fi: 11.39%).  All of the genres have fairly similar win percentages to their nominations percentages except War and Mystery which have never won the Nighthawk.

Best Picture:

I am much more inclined to line up Picture with Makeup than the Oscars but I also nominate five films and I have them throughout the history of the award, not just since 1981.  Twenty two films have won both Picture and Makeup at the Nighthawks and only 14 of those came before 1981.  This includes the three in a row, of course, of the Lord of the Rings films, though no film has won both awards since.  Another 14 Picture winners have earned Makeup nominations, six of them since 1981.  Overall, 12 Picture nominees win the Makeup award though only The English Patient, Pan’s Labyrinth and The Dark Knight have done so since 1981.  A whopping 44 films have been nominated for both with 16 of them coming since 1981.  The only year with more than three Picture nominees earning Makeup nominations is 1977 (four of the five).  There have been several years where there are three films that overlap.

Foreign Film:

These have gone together since the first awards with three of the five nominees in the 1912-26 year being Foreign Films.  The first winner would be in 1928-29 (Nosferatu).  Overall, 49 Foreign language films have earned Makeup nominations with 13 of them winning the Nighthawk.

Single Nominations:

I have nominated 52 films for Makeup but no other awards.  That may sound like a lot, but it’s less than 1/6 of all the nominees.  Only five of those films have won the award: London After Midnight, House of Wax, The Curse of Frankenstein, Quest For Fire, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Other Categories:

Like the Oscars and BAFTAs, my Makeup nominees are most likely to be paired with Art Direction (154) and Costume Design (140).  But I have a lot, lot more films that win all three (21), eight of which are from 1981 or later.

My Top 10

  1. Stuart Freeborn  –  140
  2. Peter Robb-King  –  140
  3. Jack P. Pierce  –  120
  4. Rick Baker  –  120
  5. Ve Neill  –  90
  6. Amanda Knight  –  80
  7. Jack Dawn  –  70
  8. Wally Westmore  –  70
  9. Gordon Bau  –  70
  10. Stan Winston  –  70

My Top 10 weighted

  1. Rick Baker  –  182
  2. Peter Robb-King  –  177
  3. Stuart Freeborn  –  156
  4. Ve Neill  –  148
  5. Jack P. Pierce  –  139
  6. Paul Engelen  –  125
  7. Amanda Knight  –  109
  8. Gordon Bau  –  93
  9. Stan Winston  –  93
  10. Michele Burke  –  86

note:  This based on a scale from 20-1 based on Top 20 placement at the Nighthawks.  A win is worth 20 points in Makeup, a 20th place finish is worth 1 point (if the list goes a full 20).

My Top 10 Absolute Points List:

  1. Rick Baker  –  181
  2. Peter Robb-King  –  181
  3. Ve Neill  –  161
  4. Paul Engelen  –  132
  5. Stuart Freeborn  –  124
  6. Amanda Knight  –  116
  7. Stan Winston  –  96
  8. Michele Burke  –  90
  9. Richard Taylor  –  86
  10. Fabrizio Sforza  –  83

note:  This is a point scale based on their points, not where they finished in the year.  That means, for instance, that Ve Neill gets the maximum number of points for 2003 when she finishes 2nd at the Nighthawks because her makeup for Pirates is a 9 point Makeup job.  This list makes me think that I have greatly under-estimated Jack P. Pierce’s work since he scores only a 73 (he scores so much higher above because there is so little competition, he earns the full 20 points for the win in many years no matter how highly I score his actual work).

Top 5 Films to win the Nighthawk (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. The Wizard of Oz
  2. Children of Paradise
  3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Worst 5 Films to win the Nighthawk (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. Bwana Devil
  2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  3. Marie Antoinette  (1938)
  4. Seven Faces of Dr. Lao
  5. Dick Tracy

Worst 5 Films to earn a Nighthawk nomination  (based on quality of film not makeup):

  1. An American Werewolf in London
  2. The Iron Lady
  3. The Wolfman
  4. Flash Gordon
  5. The Wiz

Consensus Awards

Most Awards (not including the Nighthawk):

  • How The Grinch Stole Christmas  –  4  (Oscar, BAFTA, MUAHSG-VE, MUAHSG-Innovate Hair Styling)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  –  3  (Oscar, MUAHSG-VE, MUAHSG-Character)
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl  –  3  (BAFTA, MUAHSG-Period, MUAHSG – Character Hair Styling)

Films That Won the Oscar and the BAFTA:

  • Quest for Fire
  • Amadeus
  • Dick Tracy
  • The Nutty Professor
  • Elizabeth
  • Topsy-Turvy
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Frida
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Pan’s Labyrinth
  • La Vie en Rose
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Iron Lady

Films That Won the BAFTA and BFCA:

  • Alice in Wonderland

Films That Win the Oscar, BAFTA and Nighthawk

  • Quest for Fire
  • Amadeus
  • Dick Tracy
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • Pan’s Labyrinth

Consensus Chart:

note:  The chart below I imported from Excel and I hope it isn’t too confusing.  It’s about as big as I could make to still have it fit.  It just fits out the nominees for the major groups from 2009 to 2011.

2009 Star Trek 20 10 30
2009 Young Victoria 10 20 30
2009 Avatar 20 20
2009 Nine 10 10 20
2009 Road  sf 10 10
2009 District 9  sf 10 10
2009 Il Divo 10 10
2009 Education 10 10
2009 Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus  sf 10 10
2009 Coco Before Chanel 10 10
2010 Alice in Wonderland  sf 20 20 40
2010 Black Swan 10 10 20
2010 Wolfman 20 20
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I 10 10
2010 True Grit  sf 10 10
2010 Way Back 10 10
2010 Barney’s Version 10 10
2010 Made in Dagenham 10 10
2010 King’s Speech 10 10
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I 10 10
2011 Iron Lady 20 20 10 50
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 10 10 20 40
2011 Albert Nobbs 10 10 20
2011 My Week with Marilyn 10 10 20
2011 J Edgar 10 10
2011 Artist, The  sf 10 10
2011 Hugo  sf 10 10

Top 5 Makeup Jobs that Predate the Oscars and BAFTAs:

  1. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope  (1977)
  2. The Elephant Man  (1980)
  3. The Phantom of the Opera  (1925)
  4. The Wizard of Oz  (1939)
  5. 2001: A Space Odyssey  (1968)

Top 5 Years That Predate the Oscars and BAFTAs:

  1. 1980  (The Elephant Man, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Kagemusha, The Shining, Flash Gordon)
  2. 1902-26  (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Phantom of the Opera, The Golem, Faust, Nibelungen: Siegfried)
  3. 1983  (Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, The Evil Dead, Videodrome, The Dresser, Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life)
  4. 1979  (Alien, All That Jazz, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, La Cage Aux Folles)
  5. 1975  (Barry Lyndon, The Man Who Would Be King, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jaws)

note:  1983 is listed because the Oscars didn’t give an award that year.  1975 would have been tied with 1968 but in 1968 the Oscars did give a special award to Planet of the Apes.


  • Best Oscar Winner Snubbed by the BAFTAs:  Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Best BAFTA Winner Snubbed by the Oscars:  The Last Emperor
  • Best Oscar Nominee Snubbed by the BAFTAs:  Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  • Best BAFTA Nominee Snubbed by the Oscars:  The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  • Best Film Snubbed by both the Oscars and BAFTAs:  Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  • Best Film Snubbed by the Oscars and BAFTAs but Nominated by the BFCA:  District 9
  • Best Film Snubbed by the Oscars and BAFTAs but Nominated by the MUAHSG:  Sleepy Hollow
  • Worst Oscar Winner:  Braveheart
  • Worst BAFTA Winner:  The Name of the Rose
  • Worst Oscar Year:  1995  (Braveheart, My Family Mi Familia, Roommates)
  • Average Nighthawk Winner  (9 point scale):  5.90
  • Average Oscar Winner  (9 point scale):  6.13
  • Average BAFTA Winner  (9 point scale):  5.70
  • Average BFCA Winner  (9 point scale):  4.67
  • Average Nighthawk 2nd Place  (9 point scale):  4.63
  • Average Nighthawk Nominee  (9 point scale):  4.55
  • Average Oscar Nominee  (9 point scale):  3.61
  • Average BAFTA Nominee  (9 point scale):  3.27
  • Average BFCA Nominee  (9 point scale):  3.36
  • Average Oscar Score:  58.72
  • Total Oscar Score:  61.17
  • Average Oscar Winner Rank:  3.22
  • Average Oscar Winner Rank Among Nominees:  1.37

See It Only for The Makeup

note:  Of the 14,000+ films I have seen, these are the only 9 that earn Nighthawk points (the point system I use for doing my awards) but earn all of their points in Makeup.  I considered only listing bad films (** or below) to really show the list that should only be watched for the Makeup but the list ended up much shorter than I thought it would be, so this is the full list.  I am listing them chronologically, so I will also list what I rate the film.  The year listed is the original release year and if a second year is listed, that’s when it was eligible for the Nighthawk Awards (based on Oscar eligibility).  Note that three of these films won the Oscar for Best Makeup.

  1. Quatermass Experiment  (1955 / 1956, ***)
  2. Scanners  (1981, **.5)
  3. The Howling  (1981, **.5)
  4. An American Werewolf in London  (1981, *)
  5. Mrs. Doubtfire  (1993, **.5)
  6. The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps  (2000, **)
  7. The Man with the Screaming Brain  (2005, **)
  8. The Wolfman  (2010, **)
  9. Wonder  (2017, **.5)


The film Quest for Fire is a rather unique one.  There seems to be a consensus about it that no other film in this category has.  It won the Oscar for Best Makeup but earned no other nominations.  It won the BAFTA for Best Makeup but earned no other nominations.  It even wins the Nighthawk for Best Makeup but earns no other nominations.  Its Makeup was deemed awards worthy but nothing else about the film was.  It was also the only film besides E.T. to beat Gandhi in any category at the Oscars.  The only other film to even be close is Mask, which earned a nomination from all three groups and earned no other nominations but it only won the Oscar, so it wasn’t perceived on quite the same level.


Lon Chaney: The Man Behind the Thousand Faces  (Michael F. Blake, 1993)

The pre-eminent Chaney scholar’s book on Chaney and his work in makeup details the work that Chaney put in to create the makeup on his two most iconic roles: the Hunchback and the Phantom.  It’s easier to find Blake’s other book A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney’s Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures.

Men, Makeup, and Monsters: Hollywood’s Masters of Illusion and FX  (Anthony Timpone, 1996)

This book focuses on a few modern day Makeup artists (most importantly, Dick Smith, Rick Baker and Stan Winston).  It has a nice little introduction that covers the history of Makeup on film but most of it is spent on profiles of people then currently working in the industry.

Monsters: A Celebration of the Classics from Universal Studios  (Roy Milano, 2006)

A nice quasi coffee table book (it’s really too short, at less than 200 pages to be considered one) that is a nice pictorial history of the major monsters from Universal’s Golden Age of Horror, from the early 30’s (but including Chaney’s work) and running through to the 50’s.  It really makes you feel the power of Chaney and Pierce’s work (who are both explicitly acknowledged in a piece at the end by Rick Baker).

Makeup Man: From Rocky to Star Trek, the Amazing Creations of Hollywood’s Michael Westmore  (Michael Westmore, 2017)

A fascinating book, less for me because of what Westmore says about his own work, specifically his 18 years as head of Makeup for Star Trek (films and shows) but because of the opening chapter where he talks about all of his family members and the work that they did in the industry.  The Westmores are the Makeup equivalent of the Newmans.

Since 2011:

Oscar Notes:  The Oscars renamed the category to Best Makeup and Hair Styling in 2012.  Of the 6 winners since 2011, only one of them, Suicide Squad, received no other Oscar nominations.  But since 1 in 6 is still a higher percentage than any other category except Foreign Film, Makeup still has the highest rate of winners with no other nominations.  Since 2011, two more Foreign language films have earned Makeup nominations, both of them surprise nominations for Swedish Comedies (The 100 Year Old Man Who Disappeared, A Man Called Ove).  While in the first 30 years of the Makeup category, only two films won Art Direction, Costume Design and Makeup, two more films have done it since (The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max: Fury Road).

BAFTA Notes:  Just like at the Oscars, Grand Budapest Hotel and Mad Max both won Art Direction, Costume Design and Makeup which means twice as many films have won all three awards since 2011 as had won them through 2011.

MUAHSG Notes:  The guild finally started its awards back up again in 2013 with, as far as I can tell, no explanation for the decade off.  When they brought back the awards they only had five categories instead of seven.  They instantly began it with nominating shitty films that no one else had nominated like Jobs or Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters or Winter’s Tale.

Nighthawk Notes:  Peter Jackson has three more films win the Nighthawk, putting him with 6 wins, though his 130 total points is still lower than Tim Burton who has no additional nominations.  Star Wars has also earned one more win (Rogue One) and two more nominations aside from that.  Peter King has also moved way up on my list.  He is now tied for 4th in Nighthawk points (120), in 3rd for Weighted Points (165) and in 2nd in Absolute Points (189) and since he is still active, is likely to pass Rick Baker before too long.  He first appears on my list for Velvet Goldmine, worked on all six Middle Earth films (winning six Nighthawks) but has also branched out beyond there in the last few years, working on Into the Woods, Alice Through the Looking Glass and The Last Jedi.  Just his work this decade earns him 121 absolute points, the seventh highest total ever.

Chart / Consensus Notes:  Because the MUAHSG (listed as MG below) has five categories, I only include films that were nominated for other awards as well.  Also, I only give 20 points for a win and 10 for a nomination no matter how many wins or nominations a film received from them.  Behind the Candelabra actually received MUAHSG nominations but in television instead of film since in the U.S. it was only released on HBO.  You do finally get two films that sweep all the awards (Mad Max, Darkest Hour).  But you also get the Oscars not even nominating American Hustle (in spite of the Best Picture nom) even though it won the other three awards.

2012 Les Miserables 20 20 10 50
2012 Hobbit 10 10 10 30
2012 Cloud Atlas 20 20
2012 Lincoln s-f 10 10 20
2012 Hitchcock 10 10 20
2012 Anna Karenina 10 10
2013 American Hustle s-f 20 20 20 60
2013 Dallas Buyers Club 20 20 40
2013 Bad Grandpa 10 20 30
2013 Butler 10 10 20
2013 Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug 10 10 20
2013 Lone Ranger 10 10 20
2013 Great Gatsby s-f 10 10 20
2013 12 Years a Slave 10 10
2013 Rush 10 10
2013 Behind the Candelabra 10 10
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy 10 20 10 20 60
2014 Grand Budapest Hotel 20 20 20 60
2014 Foxcatcher 10 10 10 30
2014 Into the Woods 10 10 10 30
2014 Hobbit: Battle of Five Armies 10 10 20
2014 Maleficent 10 10 20
2014 Theory of Everything s-f 10 10 20
2014 Mr Turner 10 10
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road 20 20 20 20 80
2015 Revenant 10 10 10 30
2015 Carol 10 10 10 30
2015 Danish Girl 10 10 10 30
2015 Black Mass 10 10 20
2015 Brooklyn 10 10 20
2015 Hateful Eight 10 10
2015 100 Year Old Man 10 10
2016 Star Trek Beyond 10 20 10 40
2016 Suicide Squad 20 20 40
2016 Jackie 10 20 30
2016 Doctor Strange 10 10 10 30
2016 Florence Foster Jenkins s-f 10 20 30
2016 Nocturnal Animals 20 10 30
2016 Hacksaw Ridge 10 10 20
2016 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 10 10
2016 Man Called Ove 10 10
2016 Rogue One 10 10
2017 Darkest Hour 20 20 20 20 80
2017 Wonder 10 10 10 10 40
2017 I Tonya s-f 10 10 10 30
2017 Shape of Water, The 10 10 20
2017 Victoria & Abdul 10 10 20
2017 Blade Runner 2049 10 10 20
2017 Beauty and the Beast 10 10