The Whale behind the scenes Adrien Morot adds a bit of glue to Charlie facial appliance while Annemarie Bradley-Sherron styles his hair.
in , ,

The Top 25 Best Makeup & Hairstyling Winners So Far (Updated for 2023)

Friends, it’s time to continue this series. As this is a tradition I’ve been keen on for years, I’m ranking the new crop of Academy Award winners. For nearly all of the Oscar categories, you’ll see me list the top 25 recipients of that prize. Sometimes, our newest winner will appear. Other times, they’ll be relegated to the Honorable Mention category. Who knows, maybe one or two won’t even make the cut? It’s a list series that I’ll do each and every single year, in the weeks after the ceremony concludes. So, while this is a fun way to think about the Oscars in the aftermath of the latest telecast, it’s also a beginning for another column here on the site. Of course, definitely show us your own lists as well, in the comments section below. We’re definitely keen to know what you think!

This week, it’s the Best Makeup & Hairstyling Academy Award category in the barrel. This particular Oscar field can often feel like it’s rewarding “most” as opposed to “best,” though what you’ll see below are certainly the cream of the crop. Lately, some of the visual transformations that have been achieved are incredible. Bombshell literally made Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly, for example. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button obviously is another huge example of what these masters are capable of. Where does the most recent winner in The Whale rank, coming on the heels of The Eyes of Tammy Faye the year prior? You’ll just have to read on and find out for yourself…

Here are what I consider to be the 25 best winners of the Best Makeup & Hairstyling Oscar, to date:

25. Vice
24. The Nutty Professor
23. Dallas Buyers Club
22. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
21. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
20. The Wolfman
19. Bombshell
18. An American Werewolf in London
17. Mrs. Doubtfire
16. Mad Max: Fury Road
15. Dick Tracy
14. Star Trek
13. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
12. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events
11. Bram Stoker’s Dracula
10. Mask
9. The Whale
8. Harry and the Hendersons
7. The Fly
6. Pan’s Labyrinth
5. Men in Black
4. Planet of the Apes
3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
2. Ed Wood
1. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Honorable Mentions: Beetlejuice, Darkest Hour, Frida, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Stay tuned for another list early on next week!


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert Hamer
3 months ago

I have to confess… I very strongly disagree with your #1 choice. The computer-generated effects were responsible for the most impressive-looking transformations in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the more makeup-heavy aging prosthetics have aged horribly (old woman Cate Blanchett especially; she looks like she’s 240 years-old in that hospital bed).

Now, much more on my wavelength is your high ranking of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I don’t think casual viewers truly appreciate how little of the movie’s effects are purely CGI; most of those holes blown into the T-1000, those knife hands and protrusions from its body, are courtesy of practical effects and prosthetics, often seamlessly integrated with computer imagery that the studio wasn’t even sure was capable of what James Cameron had envisioned to bring its villain to life, yet. And that’s not even including the top-notch gore effects everywhere else and the gradual wear-and-tear on Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The whole movie represents Stan Winston at the height of his abilities.

3 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Always sn interesting category different ways it can be judged.

1.La Vie en Rose
2.Ed Wood
3.The Eyes of Tammy Faye
4.Dick Tracy
5.Bran Stoker’s Dracula
6.The Wolfman
7.The Whale
8.The Fly
10.Quest for Fire
12.How The Grinch Stole Christmas
13.Harry and The Henderson’s
15.The Chronicles of Narnia :The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe
16.Mad Max Fury Road
18.Pans Laybrith
19.An American Warewolf In London
20.Mrs Doubtfire
21.The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
23.The Iron Lady
24.The Nutty Proffesor
25 Vice
HM The Grand Budapest Hotel,Dallas Buyers Club,LemonySnicket’s A Series of Unfortuante Events,Star Wars,Les Miserables,Suicide Squade

3 months ago
Reply to  Kellie

I meant Star Trek not Wars!



Written by Joey Magidson

Interview: Audrey Fisher on ‘Love & Death’ Costume Design Visualizing the Personality of Candy Montgomery 

Interview: Heléne Yorke of ‘The Other Two’ On How Far She’ll Go For Comedy