Thursday, August 14, 2014

Top Ten Special Effects Makeup In Film | Collab with AllTheHitsSoFar

I am so excited for today's collaboration with my dear friend and movie connoisseur, Scottie Knollin. Scottie is an accomplished writer, blogger and movie critic. To see his work you can visit his  blog,, or his weekly movie column for Atlantic Station, At The Movies With Scottie. You can also keep up with him on Instagram and Twitter at @allthehitssofar.

Makeup is magic, as MakeupByAundi makes very clear. It can cover blemishes as if they aren't even there. It can change the appearance of the face's form by subtle shadowing and enhancing. It's no wonder that the worlds of makeup and film have collided over the years for some of Hollywood's most glamorous and memorable images. Join me in celebrating some of the greatest moments in Hollywood special effects makeup, then head over to to check out MakeupByAundi's picks as the most memorable Hollywood makeup icons.

10. Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf, LA VIE EN ROSE (2007)
(Makeup Artists: Jan Archibald and Didier Lavergne)

Cotillards' beauty was completely masked by Oscar-winners Jan Archibald and Didier Lavergne as she became every facet of the great French singer Edith Piaf. Cotillard won the Oscar for her career-boosting performance, but much of that award can be attributed to the incredible makeup work done to bring her character to life.

9. Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990)
(Makeup Artist: Stan Winston)

Tim Burton's early classic is everything a Burton film has become known as. It's lighthearted and dark, all at the same time, with visual panache galore. Depp's performance as the elusive and shy Edward is both eery and endearing. The poor guy has scissors for hands. It's the subtle details that are most memorable here, like the small scars that mask his milky skin. Stan Winston was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Makeup.

8. Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice, BEETLEJUICE (1988)
(Makeup Artists: Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte, and Robert Short)

Similar to Edward Scissorhands that would come a few years later, Beetlejuice was the first introduction into what a spooky, but enjoyable, world Tim Burton could create. With great, 80s special effects galore, Beetlejuice was a great platform for Michael Keaton, as a star, and the Oscar-winning makeup team of Ve Neill, Steve LaPorte, and Robert Short. While Keaton's likeness is still every much part of Beetlejuice's face, the back-from-the-dead subtleties, plus the crazy other special effects makeup throughout the film, makes this a fun and ridiculous ride.

7. Heath Ledger as Joker, THE DARK KNIGHT (2008)
(Makeup Artist: John Caglione Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan)

Much can be said about Ledger's Oscar-winning performance, especially since the actor passed away before the film even premiered. His Joker is one for the books. The scarred smile and slithering laugh are just the right amount of crazy to fully convince anyone that the Joker was diabolical. The role was crazy and the makeup just right in that his face was messed up just enough to make sense why he would want to mask it with hideous paint to try to cover it up. Makeup artists John Caglione Jr. and Conor O'Sullivan were nominated for the Academy Award.

6. Eddie Murphy as Various Characters, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR (1996)
(Makeup Artists: Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson)

You can argue all you want about the quality of the film itself, but there's no denying that many of Eddie Murphy's movies contain some pretty stellar special effects. Norbit is one of the worst movies ever made, but was nominated for an Oscar for the incredible makeup. The Nutty Professor is significantly better than Norbit, even if it's still just a throwaway 90s comedy. The ability to transform Murphy into countless memorable characters is still pretty incredible. To think that it's nothing more than fat suits and makeup and absolutely no computer graphics is pretty outstanding. Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson won the Oscar for their work here.

5. Danny DeVito as Penguin, BATMAN RETURNS (1992)
(Makeup Artists: Ve Neill, Ronnie Spector, and Stan Winston)

A makeup team made up of Ve Neill and Stan Winston, two previous Tim Burton collaborators, with new guy Ronnie Spector, was just what was needed to pull of some of the best effects of the 90s. While there's not any over-the-top coverups, the makeup team transformed Danny DeVito into the Penguin with a few small, subtle changes that elongated his grossness into the realms of the macabre. It's what sets these makeup artists apart from others. Even the grossest of details seems realistic with the right kind of makeup. The team went on to be Oscar nominated for their work on Batman Returns.

4. Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos, MONSTER (2003)
(Makeup Artist: Toni G)

This choice could be a little bit of a stretch. Theron, who won the Oscar for Best Actress for her work in Monster, famously gained 30 pounds for the role. In fact, the most significant makeup work here was mostly just freckling and aging. But, as far as transformations go, even the smallest additional detail changes the course of the work. Theron's performance was unbelievably harrowing and the blonde beauty deservedly won the Academy Award.

3. John Leguizamo as Violator, SPAWN (1997)
(Makeup Artist: Cindy J. Williams)

There are plenty of unrecognizble makeup transformations that take well-known actors and mask them behind prosthetics and makeup galore to present a character. It was tough to narrow down just one here, so I'm letting Cindy J. Williams' coverup of famous character actor John Leguizamo for Spawn represent the others. Here Leguizamo, who always gives 100% for a role, is engrossed in a completely unrecognizable fat suit and blue clown makeup. Even his stature changes as he takes on the role. The movie itself isn't anything to write home about, but it's a clear example of what this type of special effects makeup can do.

2. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (2007)
(Makeup Artists: Nick Dudman and Amanda Knight)

I have a confession: I've never seen any Harry Potter films. Let the stoning begin! I have every intention to as soon as possible. But, in choosing this list, I had to venture to even places I hadn't been before. I actually had to do some research, too, because I could've sworn that Ralph Fiennes' makeup as Voldemort was probably mostly digital animation. It is not, unbelievably. Makeup artists Nick Dudman and Amanda Knight somehow take Ralph Fiennes nose away, but he remains a remnant of the actor. It allows for a true transformation while staying honest to who is portraying the character. It's a tough task.

1. Jim Carrey as The Grinch, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS (2000)
(Makeup Artist: Rick Baker and Gail Rowell-Ryan)

Part of what's magical about movie makeup is how memorable it can be. Jim Carrey's performance as The Grinch is possibly one of his greatest performances ever. His stamina and physical comedic abilities are front and center. But, when every huff and puff, it's the somewhat adorable pout in his green face that makes him equal parts unnerving and endearing. The Ron Howard movie will one day be remembered as one of the best Christmas movies, just as The Grinch will be remembered as one of the greatest comedic characters. The makeup team of Rick Baker (who's already made this list) and Gail Rowell-Ryan won the Oscar for Best Makeup for their Jim Carrey-The Grinch transformation.  

Scottie started AllTheHitsSoFar shortly after graduating college at the insistence of a close friend. Since earning a degree in Fine Arts from LaGrange College, he's worked in front of and behind the scenes of an array of film/television projects around the Atlanta area. In the winter of 2009, he began a five year stint as a middle/high school English teacher. In 2014 he began working as a producing intern for Between Pixels, assisting in creating concepts, writing scripts, and overseeing film shoots. In his free time he likes to watch movies (surprisingly), eat nachos, treat his dog like a person, and bash Adam Sandler.

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