January 8th, 2024
Following the recent announcement of the BAFTA longlists for 2024, where the 124 films submitted for the Makeup and Hair category were whittled down to just 10, Warpaint looks back at the Makeup and Hair nominees for the 2023 awards.
All Quiet on the Western Front – Heike Merker
One of the biggest-budget films to come out of Germany, Edward Berger’s rendition of All Quiet on the Western Front was brought to life under the direction of Heike Merker as the head of the makeup and hair department. Merker, who previously worked as a hair and makeup designer on movies such as The Matrix Resurrections and Crazy Rich Asians, recognized the importance of this iteration of Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel as “a very important angle of coping with the past”. Her approach was therefore not to try and copy the previous film’s style, instead looking to prioritise the progression of each individual characters’ experience with fatigue and deficiency throughout the film. Watch the video below to see Merker and Berger, along with cinematographer James Friend, discuss the role makeup played in making the film seem authentic and be an immersive experience.
The Batman – Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, Zoe Tahir
Matt Reeves’ The Batman offered a dark, grungy interpretation of the masked vigilante’s story. Lead by the trio of Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Zoe Tahir, the gritty mood of the film was underpinned by the makeup and hair design. For the protagonist himself, the smudged black makeup was both an integral part of his disguise and a reflection of the tone of the film. Inspiration came primarily from references to Kurt Cobain made by both Pattison and Reeves, and was translated to the final look through much trial and error, says Donne. Ultimately the smudged, blackened eyes came to function as a metaphor for Wayne’s battle between his alter ego and his surname. Pattinson’s hair was also heavily inspired by reference to Cobain, brought to fruition by Zoe Tahir.
Marino was charged with making the prosthetic for Colin Farell’s transformation into The Penguin. Working closely with Reeves, Marino pulled inspiration from old school gangster films. The eventual prosthetic rendered Farell completely unrecognisable, with Donne commenting “I don’t think I’ve ever stood in front of someone in makeup like that and forgotten it was makeup. I believed that makeup completely”.
The Whale – Anne Marie Bradley, Judy Chin, Adrien Morot
In Darren Aronofsky‘s The Whale, Brendan Fraser took on the role of the reclusive and morbidly obese English professor, Charlie, who desperately attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter. While Fraser did put on a couple of pounds for the role, the head-to-toe transformation was the work of prosthetics designer Adrien Morot, alongside the head of makeup, Judy Chin, and head of the hair department, Anne Marie Bradley. There were several challenges in creating such a total transformation, primarily that Covid restrictions prevented Fraser being able to travel to Morot’s workshop for body casting. Yet there was no room for error, as the sheer size of Fraser’s character and the small ensemble cast meant that any flaws would be obvious on the big screen. 3D printing techniques were used to create the prosthetic, which originally took between 6 to 7 hours to put on, although was eventually whittled down to 3. The final look weighed in at over 200 lbs of prosthetics and makeup, many pieces of which could only be used once and had to be recreated over and over.
Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical – Larua Blount, Naomi Donne, Barrie Gower, Sharon Martin
Just over 25 years after the premier of the original, Matthew Warchus brought the well-loved Roald Dahl story back to the big screen. Given the large ensemble cast, the hair and makeup team utilised various artists’ expertise to bring the vision to life. Working alongside Sharon Martin as Hair and Makeup Designer, and Laura Blount as Crowd Hair and Makeup Supervisor, arguably the biggest transformation came from the hands of Barrie Gower and Naomi Donne in the creation of the terrifying Miss Trunchbull. Played by the fabulous Emma Thompson, Trunchbull required two hours and a team of six people to come to life. Gower, who is best known for creating Vecna for Stranger Things and The Night King for Game of Thrones, designed the prosthetic pieces, while Donne finished the look by playing up the lines on the face to create Trunchbull’s signature menacing features. Watch the video to see this transformation take place.
Elvis – Jason Baird, Mark Coulier, Louise Coulston, Shane Thomas
One of the most highly anticipated films of 2022, Baz Luhrmann‘s Elvis took home four BAFTAs last year, including Leading Actor, Costume Design, Casting and, of course, Make Up and Hair. It was key for the team to nail the looks characters in the film were so well-known and highly photographed real-life figures. Shane Thomas, the hair and makeup designer, said Luhrmann was in full support of the process. “Baz is very hair obsessed … It has to be perfect, so he gives you the time to make it perfect. One of his famous quotes while we were filming was, ‘The hair has spoken, so we can roll the cameras’”. While the hair was obviously key in giving Austin Butler the iconic silhouette of the King, prosthetic pieces were also used throughout filming to recreate Elvis’ bone structure as he aged. The team used various prosthetic designed by Mark Coulier, including chins, jawlines and chest pieces with individually placed chest hairs. Other figures such as Priscilla and Colonel Tom Parker required similar processes to get their looks spot on, and the triumph of the team at the 2023 BAFTA awards reflects their resolve to nailing the style at any means.
We look forward to the announcement of the final five nominees for 2024 on 18th January.