Prestige vs. prosthetics for Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar?

The film that wins Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the Oscars usually has the most elaborate prosthetic makeup, but at other times the Academy prefers the nominee with the most prestige. That may be how “The Iron Lady‘s” relatively subtle aging makeup beat out the complex creatures in the “Harry Potter” finale.

It’s probably also how the biopic “Frida” beat the sci-fi film “The Time Machine” in 2002, how “La Vie en Rose” took down “Norbit” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” in 2007, and how the period musical “Les Miserables” beat prosthetics-heavy “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “Hitchcock” just last year. Even without layers of latex, a film can win if it has enough overall Academy support.

That could be good news for films like “Rush,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “American Hustle,” which may be contenders in multiple other categories, including Best Picture.

Two of Peter Jackson‘s films in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — “The Fellowship of the Ring” and “The Return of the King” — won this award, and the first of his “Hobbit” films, “An Unexpected Journey,” was nominated last year. So part two, “The Desolation of Smaug,” could be a major contender in this race.

Other sci-fi and fantasy films eligible to compete include “Oz the Great and Powerful,” “Pacific Rim,” “Ender’s Game,” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.” “Into Darkness” is J.J. Abrams‘s second film in the rebooted franchise; the first won this category in 2009.

Both “World War Z” and “Warm Bodies” take place after the zombie apocalypse and use makeup effects to create hordes of the undead.

The Butler,” “The Invisible Woman,” and “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” all transform their actors into recognizable historical figures.

Which way will voters go this year? Review the contenders below and make your predictions:

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