To bring you the inside scoop on the 2013 Oscar Winners for Makeup and Hairstyling for “Les Miserables”, we captured the Nominee Q&A at The Academy on Oscar weekend. First-time Oscar Winners Lisa Westcott (Hair and Makeup Designer) and Julie Dartnell (Hair and Makeup Artist) discussed how they designed the right look for Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Reymayne, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Academy Governor and Host Leonard Engelman, first discussed the extensive selection process, and then sat with each of the nominees for three movies: “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”, “Hitchcock” and “Les Miserables.” It was fun to see the nominees describe their work when photographs were shown during each discussion, and then the audience saw a montage of the film.
After learning about the selection process, you can understand why Leonard said, “Everyone who is a nominee is a winner.” The make-up artist and hair stylist committee meets in April, October and November to discuss films released so far and identify potential nominees. In December, the 40 members narrow it down to seven films. For the 85th Academy Awards, the seven candidates included: “Hitchcock”, “The Hobbit”, “Les Miserables”, “Lincoln”, “Looper”, “Men In Black” and “Snow White and The Huntsman.”
After 2-3 candidates are then selected to represent each film, there is a “bake-off” on the first Saturday of January. All seven films were asked to do a presentation to the committee members at this event. Talk about pressure to get it right the first time!
To take you behind-the-scenes with the winners, “Les Miserables”, below are the highlights from Leonard Engelman’s discussion with Academy Award Winners Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell.
"Les Miserable" Makeup and Hairstyling Q&A Highlights
Leonard - “How did you decide whether Anne would wear a wig or her own hair?”
Lisa Westcott - “To be absolutely frank and honest, the decision was made way before I started on the film. It’s was Anne’s idea, which she discussed in the very early days when she was meeting with Tom Hooper, she wanted her hair cut. We tried to talk her out of it,… but she was quite determined.” When Anne received her award at the BAFTA, she thanked her maker-up and hair stylist, Paul Gooch. Lisa explained that Anne described him as an “oasis of calm.”
Leonard - “Love the Hugh Jackman beard. Is all of this beard his, or was there some attachment?”
Julie Dartnell - “There is some attachment. Yes, we put hair extensions in. I think he had about…a couple of inches of growth so we added to that…And it had to be permanent to a point because of the first scene is in the water when they’re pulling the boat in with convicts…. It had to be waterproof and it had to stay….They had huge machines and waves, and it didn’t budge.”
Lisa Westcott - “Hugh also had contact lenses and scars. It was meant to be quite shocking.”
Leonard, “When you cut the hair (for Hugh), did you do it in stages?”
Julie Dartnell - “We just went for it. Hugh had seen the concept drawings so we had discussed what we thought would look great, and he was all for it…You’ve just got to be brave and go in and do it….And we said to Hugh, just go out and buy a good hat.”
Lisa Westcott - “It was all on paper, and the director was extremely involved as well. It was very much a team effort.” Hugh sort of becomes a ghost in the end. They had lenses made where the whites were yellowed. Lisa wanted to go a lot further, but Director Tom Hooper didn’t want too.
When asked about Amanda Seyfried and Eddie Reymayne, Leonard’s questions were more focused on how they came up with almost a no make-up look, which can be harder.
Julie Dartnell - “Amanda is very beautiful anyway so you’ve got a good canvas to start with…Finding a very natural make-up face, rose colored lips for that natural lip color is really just enhancing what was already there….Both wore their own hair. Eddie had a great head of hair so you could tong it and push it into shape.”
Lisa Westcott - “The child had a wig. Tom (Director) wanted to make Amanda’s hair darker, but I didn’t want that so we had a discussion. He felt that since the mother had dark hair that she should have dark hair.” (And we know how this story ended.)
When asked about Helen Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen, Lisa Westcott shared, “Every time you saw them they looked differently. They had 3-4 different looks, but the fourth one never made it. She is just divine and magic to work with. It was a wig obviously”
Cheers to Lisa Westcott (3 nominations, 1 win), who is an English makeup artist with over 35 films credits, including “Shakespeare in Love”, “Notes on a Scandal,” “The Wolfman (2010)” and “Les Miserables.”
And big congrats to Julie Dartnell (1 nomination, 1 win), who is a film makeup artist and hair stylist with over 36 film credits, including “Shakespeare in Love,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Wanted”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “Les Miserables.”
“I want to thank The Academy” for this fun celebration of the 2013 Makeup and Hairstyling Nominees. Shout to Anne Hathaway for her Heartfelt Q&A at the SAG Oscar Screening. And big congrats to all the nominees and their teams for making it into the top three films of the year! What a process! What a year for great films!