Filmmakers always try to make everything look ideal for the type of art they’re creating. They want the lighting to convey the right mood, the sets to give off the right tone, and the computer graphics to create the right visuals. But what about actors? Actors also have to fit into these narratives and that’s where the hair and makeup artists come in to the picture to add their special touch.
Having the right hair and makeup can make a world of difference in nailing the characters of a story. If the film is about wealthy people, it would make the most sense for the central characters to have stylish hair and decadent makeup. If it’s a film about soldiers in the middle of a battlefield, it would only make sense that the soldiers have dirty faces and not look like they’re about to attend a job interview. The wrong choice of hair and makeup can break the illusion.
With this in mind, here are some of the top talents in hair and makeup who have worked in film.
Christopher Allen Nelson
Christopher Allen Nelson is a man of many talents. He’s been an actor in films like “Kill Bill Volume 2” and “Hostel”. He was also a writer for such features as “A Baby Shower in San Dimas” and “Gary’s Vampire Proofing and Corpse Disposal”. His most credits, however, are for makeup. Having started his career with uncredited work on “Batman Returns”, Christopher has been working consistently with at least two movie or TV credits a year. Some of his biggest productions include doing makeup for VFX-heavy productions like “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “Sin City”.
Comic book fans will recognize his work in films like “Thor: The Dark World”, “The Amazing Spider-Man”, “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, and he even won an Oscar for his work on “Suicide Squad”(2016). His work on crafting the terrifying characters of “American Horror Story” earned him an Emmy as well. He continues to stay active in the industry to this very day and is currently involved in productions like “Rebel Moon” and a remake of “The Exorcist”.
For a man whose early work was doing makeup for TV movies, Donald Mowat has come a long way in his career. He would soon work his way up to becoming involved with high-profile productions, like the James Bond franchise (namely “Skyfall” and “Spectre”). Denis Villeneuve fans would recognize him as a regular for being involved with the makeup and prosthetics of the films “Prisoners”, “Blade Runner 2049”, and “Dune” (as well as the upcoming “Dune Part 2”).
Even before these illustrious productions, Donald had already proved himself to become a member of BAFTA, IATSE, BECTU, and the European Film Academy. As if all that weren’t enough, his volunteer work with artists has led to him winning the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers. His latest work was on the Marvel TV series Moon Knight. You can see his makeup expertise in the upcoming features “The Interpreter” and “Dune Part 2”.
If you’re a big fantasy film fan, you should probably be familiar with the art of Peter Owen. He’s been involved with a number of fantasy productions that include “The Dark Crystal”, “Wolf”, “Sleepy Hollow”, and “Shadow of the Vampire”, making him no stranger to working with creature effects. However, it’s ultimately his work on “The Lord of the Rings” that is his biggest claim to fame.
He provided makeup and hair for three entries of Peter Jackson’s LOTR trilogy. For this work, he would win an Academy Award and was gracious enough to share it with special effects wizard Richard Taylor. Lately, Peter’s been doing a lot of wig work on films like “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” and “Six Minutes to Midnight”.
Andrea Kozma is one of the younger generation of hair and makeup artists, having started her career in 2017 with her work on short films. Her biggest break came with doing makeup and prosthetics for the 2019 sleeper hit “Midsommar”. She has worked on a few features since but most of her makeup work has been on the small screen. Her credits include “The Witcher”, “Barbarians”, “Halo”, “Moon Knight”, and “Shadow and Bone”. The upcoming “Maria Theresa Gives Birth” is proof that she still makes time for short films as well.