“Darkest Hour” is the overwhelming Oscar front-runner for Best Makeup and Hairstyling thanks in large part to the prosthetics used to transform lead actor Gary Oldman into British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. This award has gone to a number of films that recreate historical figures over the years, but the motion picture academy has been especially fond of British icons.
Peter Frampton, Paul Pattison and Lois Burwell won for “Braveheart” (1995), about 13th century Scottish warrior William Wallace. But Wallace was actually fighting to free Scotland from English rule, so perhaps we should leave that one out. But just a few years later Jenny Shircore prevailed for “Elizabeth” (1998), which transformed Cate Blanchett into Queen Elizabeth I during the early years of her reign. And one year after that Christine Blundell and Trefor Proud prevailed for Mike Leigh‘s biopic “Topsy-Turvy” (1999), about the British operatic duo of Gilbert and Sullivan.
Only one film about a 20th century British leader has won so far, but it bodes well for “Darkest Hour” because it was also tied to a top acting contender: “The Iron Lady” (2011), which starred Meryl Streep as Britain’s first female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. Streep won Best Actress in addition to the film’s Makeup and Hairstyling victory for Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, and as of this writing Oldman is the overwhelming front-runner to take Best Actor for “Darkest Hour.”
Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick are the makeup and hair artists nominated for their work on “Darkest Hour,” and they’re currently out front in our predictions with leading odds of 1/10. Those odds are based on the combined predictions of more than 3,300 users who have entered their picks at Gold Derby thus far. That includes 21 Expert journalists we’ve polled from top media outlets, 20 of whom are predicting a “Darkest Hour” victory: Thelma Adams (Gold Derby), Erik Davis (Fandango), Edward Douglas, Grae Drake (Rotten Tomatoes), Joyce Eng (Gold Derby), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Tim Gray (Variety), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Tariq Khan (Fox News), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (Entertainment Weekly), Sasha Stone (Awards Daily), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Sara Vilkomerson (Entertainment Weekly), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Susan Wloszczyna (RogerEbert.com).
“Darkest Hour” is also backed unanimously by eight Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, 23 of the Top 24 Users who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Oscar winners, and 22 of our All-Star Top 24 who got the highest scores when you combine the last two years’ Oscar predictions. This is the first Oscar nom for Malinowski and Sibbick, but it’s the third for Tsuji who previously contended in this category for “Click” (2006) and “Norbit” (2007). It would be the first victory for all three.
Trailing “Darkest Hour” are the inspirational drama “Wonder” (by Arjen Tuiten) with 16/1 odds, and yet another British icon, Queen Victoria, in “Victoria and Abdul” (by Daniel Phillips and Loulia Sheppard) with 40/1 odds.
Do you agree with our consensus that “Darkest Hour” is the overwhelming favorite? Or are we underestimating its rivals?
Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.