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And The BAFTA Goes To…

February 29th, 2024

February 29th, 2024

The 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards saw Poor Things take home the award for Best Make Up and Hair, with Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier and Josh Weston sharing the honours.  Additionally, the film picked up four other wins, including Emma Stone’s second BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role, as well as wins for Special Visual Effects, Costume Design and Production Design.   

Poor Things BAFTA win

From @joshwestonfx on Instagram

Hair and Makeup

For Chief Hair and Makeup Artist Nadia Stacey, who had previously worked with Stone on The Favourite (2018) and Cruella (2021) and won BAFTAs for both, this project offered her a lot of creative freedom and room to explore as the film’s director, Yorgos Lanthimos, famously takes a stripped back approach when it comes to hair and makeup in his films.  Certainly, makeup was used when a character’s identity required it to be; such was the case with Kathryn Hunter’s role as Swiney, the madame at the brothel where Bella works, who donned bright blue eyeshadow and a messy red lip.  However, Lanthimos’ stripped back approach posed a particular challenge for Stacey in the design of Bella’s hair throughout the film.  The hair plays a significant role throughout the film, not only to denote time (as Bella’s hair is said to grow two inches every few days), but also to reflect Bella’s character and her development.  At its longest, the hair reached 42- inches, achieved with the use of many long extensions to comply with Lanthimos’ ‘no wig’ rule.  Stacey also played around with texture, plaiting the extensions and sending Stone home in plaits to make the two much easier to blend on set.  Additionally, Stacey’s choice to leave the hair down, rather than the tidy up-do we see in the opening shot of the film, was deliberate.  “Leaving Bella’s hair down shows that she has no societal restraints or rules and doesn’t dress her hair like everyone around her,” Stacey wrote on her Instagram, “she doesn’t know the rules that it would have been correct to wear your hair up”. 

Poor Things BAFTA Win

From @nadiastaceyhairmakeupdesign on Instagram

From @nadiastaceyhairmakeupdesign on Instagram

Prosthetics

Also receiving the award were Mark Coulier and Josh Weston, the prosthetic makeup artists responsible for the transformation of Willem Dafoe into the mutilated Godwin Baxter.  Coulier, who has previously won two BAFTAs for his work on The Iron Lady (2011) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), began the process by taking 3d models and moulds of Dafoe’s face.  Weston, known for his work on Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) and Elvis (2022), then used these designs to sculpt the face, before working together to create the final prosthetics.  Despite wanting a more stripped back look in regards to the cast’s hair and makeup, Lanthimos had given the prosthetics team more freedom, telling them, “I don’t want it to look logical, I want it to look weird and interesting and beautiful” when discussing Godwin’s mutilated face.

From @mcoulier on InstagramThe final outcome was outstanding, making Dafoe’s face disfigured, almost reassembled, showing the cruelty he suffered at the hands of his Frankensteinian father.  When it came time for application, the team managed to get the process down to just under two hours, much helped by Dafoe’s attitude.  Speaking to Virgin Radio on the BAFTA red carpet, Coulier said, “Willem was fantastic … I mean, he meditates during the makeup, so he’s completely still, which for us as prosthetic makeup artists is what were really need.”

The trio’s hard work and creativity ultimately payed off as they emerged triumphant over the likes of Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon (see our previous article for a full breakdown of the 2024 nominees).  When accepting the award, the team gave great praise to the cast members for allowing them to bring their designs to life, as well as Lanthimos for ‘bold and exciting movies” – see the full acceptance speech below.  The team is also nominated for an Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, taking place on 10 March 2024, and we look forward to finding out the results!

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By Frankie Hardy

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