Meet The Contenders

February 13th, 2018

February 13th, 2018

With less than a month to go until this year’s Academy Awards we thought it was high time to turn our attention to the three candidates hoping to walk away with that coveted statuette.  As always we’ve been blown away by some of the achievements in cinema over the past twelve months.  Which of the contenders get your vote?  Comment below or share with us on social @Warpaint_Mag!

Wonder – Arjen Tuiten

Wonder has a lot of elements, beside the realistic transformation of young Jacob Tremblay, which surely helped to edge it into the final three.  From an incredible sculpting design – which was so good that surgeons familiar with Treacher Collins syndrome didn’t realise that prosthetics were used – to a race against the clock on a daily basis as Tremblay was only allowed to work nine hours a day, Tuiten and his team had their fair share of problems to overcome.

The team created a complex design which consisted of two interlocking main pieces, resulting in them being able to apply it in a speedy 90 minutes.  Tuiten spoke to the LA Times, detailing some of the processes they undertook to properly represent this rare condition: “When I did the sculpt, I had to find the right balance between looking true to the condition and making sure it didn’t take too much from the performance.  I also had to make sure Jacob was comfortable.  One of the best parts of the job was getting feedback from parents who said they were happy that we told their stories.

“The first time Jacob’s mother saw him with the make-up, she burst into tears.”

Darkest Hour – Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski & Lucy Sibbick

It took a personal appeal from Gary Oldman to coax legendary SFX artist Kazuhiro Tsuji out of retirement for this project.  And he had a fair amount of reservations, even after signing onto the project – ‘It was daunting, the idea of creating a likeness that everyone has their own image of already,’ Tsuji admitted in an article with the Daily Mail. ‘The hardest part was that Gary has an oval head shape, while Churchill had a more compressed, round face.  Gary’s eyes are close to each other, Churchill’s are totally opposite.  Their proportions and head sizes were completely different.’

Historical, biographical projects instil a necessary level of nerves in a team, but the dedicated and talented team behind Darkest Hour must have breathed a sigh of relief when the first image of Oldman as Churchill was released, creating a tsunami of shocked admiration from the internet.  While their work on Churchill is obviously front and centre, the team’s excellent period hair and make-up across the board could easily have earned them a place on this list alone.

Victoria & Abdul – Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard

Speaking of period make-up, Victoria & Abdul showcases some stunning homegrown talent.  Daniel Phillips has been demonstrating his considerable talents in period make-up for years, with BAFTA nominations for Florence Foster Jenkins, The Duchess and The Queen.  His co-hair designer in Sheppard brought a certain flair and style to the design, drawing on her experience on other stylistic period pieces such as Anna Karenina and even Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them.

The understated alternative compared to its prosthetic-heavy rivals, we were thrilled to see the team rewarded for their subtly and honed skills.  The team were ecstatic, commenting on their nomination: “We are just so excited and honoured to have been nominated by the Academy.  For us, Victoria & Abdul was the perfect platform to showcase some ‘back to old school’ classic hair and character make-up skills and we are so thankful to be recognised.  A very proud moment for us.”



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By Deborah Murtha

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