Before the Gold: Best Makeup and Hairstyling

This month, we’re taking a look at this year’s Oscar nominees and digging into their past work to find hidden gems that you may have overlooked. Best Makeup and Hairstyling offers a journey through time and around the globe, beginning in England in the 1800s and making stops in a fantastical countryside Italy, the Roaring Twenties in Chicago, the early days of Hollywood, and the Appalachian Mountains at the end of the 20th century. Here’s a showcase of the formidable artisans responsible for the perfectly-coiffed hair and authentic period looks (including links to our conversations with two of the teams), and other projects they’ve worked on that are absolutely worth checking out.


Marese Langan

Hidden gem: Disobedience

Laura Allen

Hidden gem: Blinded by the Light

Claudia Stolze

Hidden gem: The Keeper

The Keeper (Menemsha Films)

Disobedience presents a remarkable recreation of religious life and those who rebel against it, conveying great personality with extremely conservative clothing and fashion. Blinded by the Light is a colorful tribute to culture and music, capturing the stylistic spirit of the late 1980s. The Keeper displays the energy and shared passion that enemies can develop on the soccer field.

Hillbilly Elegy

Eryn Krueger Mekash

Hidden gem: Nip/Tuck

Matthew W. Mungle

Previously nominated for: Albert Nobbs, Ghosts of Mississippi, Schindler’s List, and Dracula (won)

Hidden gem: W.

Patricia Dehaney

Previously nominated for: Vice (won)

Hidden gem: Changeling

Changeling (Universal Pictures)

Ryan Murphy’s twisted FX series Nip/Tuck is all about how people look and the ways in which they want to change their appearances. W. dresses up all of its performers to mimic what two decades ago counted as an absurd presidential administration. Changeling pays as much attention to Angelina Jolie’s eyelashes and hair as it does to her character’s exhaustive search for the truth.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (our interview here)

Sergio Lopez-Rivera

Hidden gem: The Catch

Mia Neal

Hidden gem: Young Adult

Jamika Wilson

Hidden gem: Troop Zero

Troop Zero (Courtesy of Sundance Institute)

ABC’s two-season flirty dramedy The Catch emphasizes style above all else in its depiction of casual criminality. The dryly funny Young Adult makes its adults behave and look like children, while the winning and charming Troop Zero shows that children can often be just as intelligent and resourceful as the adults charged with teaching them, down to the last fabulous detail.


Gigi Williams

Hidden gem: A Single Man

Kimberley Spiteri

Hidden gem: Charlie Wilson’s War

Colleen LaBaff

Hidden gem: Generation

A Single Man (The Weinstein Company)

The faces and the way they move are as evocative as the actors’ performances in Tom Ford’s beautiful A Single Man. Exaggerated hairstyles and mustaches are key to the black comedy at play in Mike Nichols’ Charlie Wilson’s War. HBO Max’s new series Generation, which just wrapped its first season, boldly tackles modern fashions and expressions of self.

Pinocchio (our interview here)

Mark Coulier

Previously nominated for: The Grand Budapest Hotel (won), The Iron Lady (won)

Hidden gem: Rush

Dalia Colli                                                    

Hidden gem: Gomorrah

Francesco Pegoretti

Hidden gem: Beirut

Rush (Universal Pictures)

Racing requires fancy hair and just the right amount of sweat, as featured in the superb drama Rush. The stark, gritty nature of the mafia-centric Gomorrah depends heavily on the fear and anger pulsating from its characters’ bodies. Westerners in a war zone look and feel appropriately out of place in the thriller Beirut.


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments



Written by Abe Friedtanzer

Film Review: Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer Can’t Make ‘Thunder Force’ Rumble

Phoebe Waller-Bridge Joins the cast of the Next ‘Indiana Jones’ Sequel