Academy Ambitions

January 20th, 2016

January 20th, 2016

The film award season is well under way, with nominated films sprinting through each awards evening with the hope of crossing the line first at the Academy Awards.  And with the three official Oscar nominees finally announced, we thought it was worth having a closer look at each of the make-up and hair design.

The 100-Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared

We admit that we were surprised to hear that the Swedish dark horse nabbed an official nomination – but the more we looked into the work of designers Love Larson and Eva von Bahr, the more impressed we were.  They were tasked with the ageing of main character Allan from middle-aged to 100 years old, as well as the various period make-up and stylings required for the flashback scenes throughout his life.  And on top of that they had to re-create a bevy of historical characters, including Stalin, Ronald Reagan and Churchill.

With a tight film schedule and a modest budget, Larson and von Bahr knew that their team faced a real challenge.  Allan goes through nine different stages of ageing, from mid-20s to 100, with different pieces made up for each stage – requiring military precision to keep organised and on point.

With lead actor Robert Gustafsson one of the most recognisable personalities in Sweden, the team were thrilled with the final result.  The first shot of the film cemented their achievement as you observe what appears to be a genuine elderly man.




The Revenant

That Leonardo DiCaprio took the time to thank his long-time make-up artist Sian Grigg in his Golden Globes speech speaks volumes for the results which she, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini achieved.

A lot has been made of the extreme locations the crew and the team found themselves in – a film about extreme survival required nothing less.  With freezing temperatures, incredibly tight filming times – reportedly only about 90 minutes every day, due to director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s desire to use only natural light – and remote locations, the team had their work cut out.  Hair and period styling were also a consideration – we’ve heard that melted wax was used to create the ice effects in their beards.

DiCaprio donned 47 prosthetic pieces over the course of the shoot, the result of his character’s near-fatal mauling by a bear.  Spanning his life-threatening injuries and his slow recovery, Grigg and her team had to carefully map the development of his injuries.  With everything geared towards realism – including the -40 degree weather – the make-up did a fantastic job of keeping up.

DiCaprio Revenant


Mad Max: Fury Road

It’s never easy re-visiting a cult film, and it was Lesley Vanderwalt who was given the unenviable task of re-creating the post-apocalyptic feel of the original Mad Max.  Working closely with director George Miller, Vanderwalt referenced the oil fields in Angola, the workers of Salgado, the rubbish heaps in the Philippines, and other bleak environments.  They also pulled inspiration from African tribal and Indian religious festivals, as well as Polynesian and Maori scarification.

With character backgrounds already pre-written by Miller and screenwriter Nico Lathouris, Vanderwalt and her team had a wealth of information to channel into the physical looks of the characters.  Social status was a huge aspect in the film, which they denoted through different designs in the make-up – from tattoos to make-up colour choices.

Similar to The Revenant, the team faced difficult physical conditions in the overwhelming heat of the Australian desert, which would plummet overnight to near freezing; keeping the make-up and applications at a stable temperature was a daily struggle.  As for lengthy applications, the tattoos for the character Miss Giddy would span six hours – the MUAs would begin the night before, and finish them off after actress Jennifer Hagen had slept in them.  The whole film is a visual feast, and especially after the team’s win at the Critics Choice Awards we think this competition is looking very tight indeed.

MissGiddy Slit


Who do you think deserves to win?  Comment below, or tweet us @Warpaint_Mag



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By Deborah Murtha

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