The Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling is particularly tough to predict early on because of the complicated system by which the nominees are determined in two stages. First, upwards of 15 members of the branch who attend special screenings cast preferential ballots with the top seven vote-getters moving on to the second stage. Those members from the first stage and any other members who either attend screenings of excerpts from these seven semi-finalists or attest that they have seen them cast preferential ballots and the top three films are nominated. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date predictions for this years Best Makeup and Hairstyling race).
As a result of being well-received at these screenings, titles that had not been part of the conversation in the first few months of awards season end up in the final three. For example, the Swedish films “A Man Called Ove” (2016) and “The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (2015) bumped out films with much higher profiles like “Deadpool” and “Black Mass” respectively.
The award for Best Makeup was introduced in 1981, following an outcry over the lack of recognition with a special award for Christopher Tucker‘s groundbreaking work on “The Elephant Man” (1980). Hairstylists began sharing the award with makeup artists in 1993 when “Mrs. Doubtfire” won. However, the category didn’t change its name to reflect this until 2012.
Reviewing the list of recent winners reveals the various types of makeup and hairstyling that appeal to academy voters: prosthetics (“The Wolfman” in 2010, “Star Trek” in 2009, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 2008, “Pan’s Labyrinth” in 2006, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Event” in 2004, “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” in 2003 and “LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring” in 2001), dirt and grime (“Mad Max: Fury Road” in 2015, “Les Misérables” in 2013 and “Braveheart” in 1995) and big wigs (“The Grand Budapest Hotel” in 2014, “The Iron Lady” in 2011 and “Elizabeth” in 1998)
Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while others are dropped due to delays or critical reaction.
UPDATED: January 14, 2018
On Tuesday (Dec. 19), the academy announced the seven films that made the shortlist for the Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar. From this septet, the final three nominees in this category will be determined:
“Ghost in the Shell”
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”
“Victoria & Abdul”
Of the various genres represented in the race, there are three period pictures (“Darkest Hour,” “I, Tonya” and “Victoria & Abdul”), two comic books come to life (“Ghost in the Shell,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”) a sci-fi flick (“Bright”), and a contemporary drama (“Wonder“).
Members of the academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will convene on Jan. 6 to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven films and vote for the final nominees, which will be announced with all other categories on Jan. 23.
Last year’s winner was “Suicide Squad,” the third installment in the DC Extended Universe which prevailed over the Swedish film “A Man Called Ove” and “Star Trek Beyond.”
We are predicting all 24 of the competitive categories at the Oscars. Click on the linked categories below to read our previews of each of these races.
Best Picture | Best Director | Best Original Screenplay | Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress
Best Cinematography | Best Costume Design | Best Film Editing | Best Production Design
Best Makeup & Hairstyling | Best Sound Editing | Best Sound Mixing | Best Visual Effects
Best Original Score | Best Original Song
Best Animated Feature | Best Documentary Feature | Best Foreign Language Film
Best Animated Short | Best Documentary Short | Best Live-Action Short