Friday, February 22, 2008

Best Makeup

Norbit* – Rick Baker, Kazuhiro Tsuji
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Ve Neill, Martin Samuel
La Vie en Rose – Didier Lavergne, Jan Archibald

Will win: Now here’s a trio you don’t see every day: a supposedly moronic Eddie Murphy comedy, a mega-successful action blockbuster, and an ingratiating French biopic. Not exactly Tinker to Evers to Chance. Anyway, biopics have an inherent advantage in the makeup category. Since their subject is a concrete, identifiable person, the biopic’s goal is to create not a new character but a likeness. I don’t know what the real Edith Piaf looked like, but I imagine some voters do, and even if they don’t, the transformation of Marion Cotillard’s appearance is so traumatic that it’s easy to just assume it’s a result of impressive makeup. Throw in that everyone hated Norbit and that At World’s End is just too damn likable to win an Oscar, and La Vie en Rose takes it.

(And if you’re keeping track at home, the scoreboard for Oscar nominations now reads: Norbit, 1; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 0. I will now stick my head in the microwave.)

Should win: It’s tough to gauge something like makeup for a movie as effects-laden as Pirates of the Caribbean, since I’m not sure where the makeup ends and the CGI begins. Besides, when Keira Knightley’s in your movie, you don’t really need much makeup.

I’ll say this for La Vie en Rose: It did one hell of a job uglifying Marion Cotillard. The woman is absolutely gorgeous in real life, and this movie turns her into a hunched, cranky, arthritic old woman. I’m not sure this is a good thing – the trend of beautiful actresses receiving credit for their talents only after they become more repulsive than Ursula in The Little Mermaid is highly disturbing – but it’s impressive nonetheless. Let’s just make sure Cotillard goes back to playing Ariel and not Ursula.

Deserving:
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Some of the third-person shots of the paralyzed author show us a man who is so pathetically helpless he’s almost grotesque. Of course, the movie treats its subject with tenderness and humanity, but with his patchy scalp and sealed eye form one depressing visage.
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Talk about taking something beautiful and making it terrifying – Johnny Depp’s haircut is still freaking me out. Additionally, he looked like he hadn’t seen sunlight in 15 years – his face was even more pale in this movie than in Edward Scissorhands.

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