Friday, February 7, 2014

Makeup and Hairstyling

Between finally watching Dallas Buyers Club and Inside Llewyn Davis, I have finished a good number of categories and will hopefully have something daily from here until the awards show. Today, we start this run with Makeup and Hairstyling for which the nominees worked on
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • The Lone Ranger
This is certainly no class like last year's which carried Les Mis√©rables, the critically overlooked Hitchcock, and that year's Hobbit film. I'm not even sure where to start with this year's selections as each film feels rather narrowly focused and not terribly impressive.

So let's start with Jackass. I'll be honest, when I started watching this, I double checked to see if it was nominated for anything else. How foolish of me. This film got in on the back of the transformation of the 42 year old Johnny Knoxville into the 86 year old Irving Zisman, which is more impressive if you don't actually look at a recent photo of Knoxville and instead remember the Knoxville who burst onto the scene in his early thirties. That said, the makeup work to create Zisman is nothing short of remarkable and is perhaps best characterized by the fact that it holds up to in-person scrutiny. The only fault I can really place is a very obvious bald-cap line in some scenes. The makeup sells Knoxville's portrayal of a repugnant octogenarian, but other than that things are pretty substandard. There are a couple penis/testicle props that were realistic enough to be believed, though I doubt anyone examined them very closely. This movie lives and dies with the Zisman costume.

The Lone Ranger has a similarly well-aged Johnny Depp starring as old Tonto, younger Tonto's unfortunately sourced pleasingly crusty makeup, and William Fichtner's take on the scarred Butch Cavendish (who sports a poorly thought-out cleft palate). The Cavendish makeup is strong, certainly, but the real prize here is certainly old Tonto which takes everything Bad Grandpa did and does it better. To be succinct, The Lone Ranger is both broader and better than Bad Grandpa.

That leaves us with the only film to garner more than two Academy Award nominations. Dallas Buyers Club largely speaks through simpler, muted tones in bringing us the mid-eighties. I spoke a bit about my feelings on more easily accessible and recognizably sourced looks here, and it's worth saying again that giving people hair from the eighties just doesn't impress me. The other notable works here lie in the bodily effects and damage due to AIDS and Jared Leto's turn as Rayon. Rayon is a painfully rendered caricature of a transwoman made all the more painful by Leto's attempt at her. The hair and makeup nearly continuously did a disservice to any credibility Leto may have had in the role. The only saving grace to Rayon are her headscarves which I'm still hesitant to enjoy as the de facto dying woman's headdress of choice.

As painfully and strongly as I want to like a movie such as Dallas Buyers Club over The Lone Ranger and especially Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, there's simply no argument for it in this category. Both of those other films' makeup and hairstyling served to enhance the film while Dallas Buyers Club went without any high points to really propel it forward and was, in at least one key area, held back. If the other two films were left out in the schoolyard, The Lone Ranger would look at Jackass and taunt, "Anything you can do, I can do better." I'd agree with it, and I think the voters will too.

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