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2024 BAFTA Film Awards

February 5th, 2024

February 5th, 2024

Following the release of this year’s EE BAFTA Film Awards nominations, Warpaint looks at the five nominees for the Make Up and Hair category.

Killers of the Flower Moon – Kay Georgiou, Thomas Nellen

In Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of David Grann’s novel with the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon depicts the true story of the series of murders of members of the  Osage, a Midwestern American tribe of the Great Plains, after oil was discovered on their tribal lands.  Key to delivering this story authentically was accurately and respectfully depicting the visual aspect of the Osage characters, a task which was left in the capable hands of Hair Department head, Kay Georgiou, and Makeup Department lead, Thomas Nellen.  Extensive research, hundreds of reference images and constant communication with Osage consultants and crew members allowed Georgiou and Nellen to create authentic recreations of the Osage members as they would have looked in the 1920s when the tragedies took place.  As many characters in the film were based upon real people, portraits were key to getting their looks spot on, allowing the team to create distinct looks for each the key Indigenous actors.  Georgiou and Nellen had previously worked together on The Patriot (2000) and True Grit (2010), but this time they faced significant challenges caused by the extreme weather on location in Oklahoma.  The summer heat meant it was particularly important for makeup to survive the long shoots, whilst still looking like skin.  With insights from working with the Osage people, who told them their skin deepened three shades in the summer, Nellen focused on skin prep to ensure the skin would look beautiful despite the challenging climate whilst still remaining invisible on screen.

Source: @fangsfx on Instagram

Maestro – Sian Grigg, Kay Georgiou, Kazu Hiro, Lori McCoy-Bell

Maestro is the epic biopic of composer Leonard Bernstein, played by Bradley Cooper, and his marriage to wife Felicia Montealegre, played by Carey Mulligan, the makeup and hair department was tasked with visually conveying the passing of time throughout the 30-year relationship between the pair.  Kazu Hiro, a prosthetic makeup artist who has won two Oscars for his work on Darkest Hour (2017) and Bombshell (2019) was responsible for creating the prosthetics which transformed Cooper’s face at different stages in the composer’s life.  Working closely alongside Cooper, who was also the film’s director and co-writer, Hiro spent many hours crafting perfect looks to convey the progression throurigh the composer’s life; in the later stages call time was as early as 1 am to give the team, including Cooper’s hairstylist Lori McCoy-Bell, over 5 hours to transform Cooper into the elderly Bernstein.  Kay Georgiou and Sian Gregg were responsible for creating the look for the formidable Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein, and they worked closely with her children and extended family who provided exclusive family photos to aid in Mulligan’s transformation.  Again, prosthetic pieces were used on Mulligan when portraying Felicia in her final years, but also heavily relied on shading, contouring and highlighting to underpin the ageing process. Watch the process come to life in the video below.

Napoleon – Jana Carboni, Francesco Pegoretti, Satinder Chumber, Juila Vernon

Ridley Scott’s Napoleon tells the rise and fall of the eponymous French general and emperor, portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix, and the relationship between him and his wife, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby, Josephine’s story is underpinned throughout by makeup and hair.  When creating wigs for Kirby, Francesco Pegoretti aimed to balance historical accuracy and a modern flair.  For instance, when Josephine first appears her hair is short, reflecting her close call with execution as she had supposedly cut her hair before to avoid it being caught on the blade.  Pegoretti says director Scott wanted to move away from an academic portrayal, opting to go for a more edgy, modern pixie cut, as if she were “going to a Cure concert”.  In the makeup, her personality was also at the forefront of design.  Jana Carboni, the head makeup designer, explained how they opted to “keep her eyebrow quite strong because that’s part of the wildness she’s always been”, and often used heavy makeup to show how Josephine used her “beauty and sex appeal” to survive.  Detail was key, with Carboni extensively searching for the perfect crimson blush which she eventually found in the form of a vintage lipstick colour at a local market.

Source: @jana_carboni on Instagram

Source: @jana_carboni on Instagram

Oppenheimer – Luisa Abel, Jamie Leigh McIntosh, Jason Hamer, Ahou Mofid

One of the most highly anticipated films of 2023, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer tells the tale of Robert Oppenheimer, portrayed by Cillian Murphy, and his battle to reconcile his exciting scientific breakthroughs with the moral responsibility which accompanies the development of such destructive technology.  As with several of the other films nominated in this category, the focus was on ageing makeup to accompany the passage of time throughout the film, especially to distinguish between the dual timelines, as well as reflecting the character’s experiences.  When discussing the makeup for Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty, played by Emily Blunt, makeup department head Luisa Abel created a period-appropriate palette for Kitty’s early years which then deteriorate as time went on.  According to Abel, Kitty’s makeup “transfers into character makeup for that outdoorsy Los Alamos look, and when she starts to drink, it breaks down”.  The ageing process for Kitty, along with other key characters, was also underpinned by prosthetics created by Jason Hamer.   A particular challenge was poised for the hair department lead by Jamie Leigh McIntosh and supported by key hair stylist Ahou Mofid as they had to contend with director Nolan’s ‘no wig rule’.  Nolan claimed he “really wanted the film not to have any obvious artifice when it came to the way the characters presented themselves”, even going so far as to plan the filming schedule around Murphy’s haircuts.  Additionally, the hair and makeup team were put under an even brighter spotlight with the piece being filmed and viewed in IMAX.  See below a featurette with the hair, makeup and prosthetics team on how they dealt with this need for perfection.

Poor Things – Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier, Josh Weston

Poor Things rounds off the nominees for the 2024 Make Up and Hair category.  Written by Tony McNamara and directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, this science fantasy black comedy tells the story of a young woman resurrected by the eccentric Dr. Baxter after taking her own life, who then runs away on an adventure of self discovery with a debauched lawyer.  Chief hair and makeup artist Nadia Stacey explained that the hair of the protagonist, played by Emma Stone, becomes symbolically longer and more unkept, left down intentionally to signify her non-conformity.  However, as with Oppenheimer, Stacey was immediately given the instruction of ‘no wigs!’, meaning the team heavily relied on hair wefts and extensions throughout, reaching up to 44 inches at their peak.  Lanthimos also insisted on stripping back the makeup as much as possible, with Stone being virtually makeup free for the entire first half of the film and a heavy concentration on skincare, brows and matte lip balms throughout the final half.  Stacey worked closely with prosthetic makeup artists Mark Coulier and Josh Weston to curate the maimed face of Dr. Baxter, played by Willam Defoe.  As his character was riddled with scars and deformity, Dafoe recalled spending six hours a day in the makeup chair in order to nail the look.

Source: @nadiastaceyhairmakeupdesign on Instagram

Source: @nadiastaceyhairmakeupdesign on Instagram

The EE BAFTA Awards is being held on Sunday 18th February 2024 at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s Southbank and hosted by David Tennant.  Good luck to all nominees.

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By Frankie Hardy

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