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23rd February 2024

Hair, makeup and costume design nominees at the 2024 Academy Awards

Who has been celebrated for exceptional hair, makeup and costume design at the Academy Awards 2024… and who was snubbed?
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Hair, makeup and costume design nominees at the 2024 Academy Awards
Photo: Jernej Furman @ Flickr

Awards season is upon us again, and the biggest show of them all is right around the corner: The Academy Awards. Our favourite categories here at Fashion and Beauty – Makeup and Hairstyling, and Costume Design – are often overlooked by the casual movie watcher despite how they can make or break your favourite films.

Let’s round up the best nominees for 2024 – and the best who weren’t nominated.

Makeup and Hairstyling

Golda – Karen Hartley Thomas, Suzi Battersby, and Astra Kelly-Blue

Camille Cottin, Helen Mirren in Golda @Bleeker Street Productions

Helen’s Mirren’s biographical drama Golda chronicles the story of Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. Makeup and Hairstyling is the only Oscar nomination the film received, and it’s easy to see why. Mirren is virtually unrecognisable as Golda Meir, which proved to be a very controversial makeover due to Mirren not being of Jewish heritage.

“You’re looking to give the silhouette and essence of the person… and not a caricature,” Karen Hartley Thomas said to Vanity Fair, possibly a dig at Bradley Cooper’s prosthetic nose as Leonard Bernstein in Maestro which proved to be an unpopular choice with audiences. Everything from Mirren’s hair, teeth, eyebrows, and even legs were adjusted due to Meir at the time undertaking treatment for Lymphoma, making her legs swell.

Poor Things – Nadia Stacey, Mark Coulier, and Josh Weston

Willem Dafoe in Poor Things @Searchlight Pictures

Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest offering Poor Things saw Emma Stone transform into a baby-brained Bella Baxter and Willem Dafoe into eccentric Frankenstein-esque surgeon Godwin Baxter. It’s safe to say that, despite Stone’s striking look, Dafoe’s extensive facial prosthetics are the most impressive.

Speaking to Indie Wire, Dafoe said “It would take about four hours to get everything on” — including pre-made pieces the team “basically glued” onto his face, plus all the blending of makeup to make it appear seamless — “and two hours to get it off”. The effort was definitely worth it, as prosthetics expert Nadia Stacey somehow made Willem Dafoe look even crazier.

Who was snubbed?

The Iron Claw – Natalie Shea Rose and Elle Favorule

Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson as The Von Erich brothers in The Iron Claw @A24

The first snub of the list is A24’s latest offering The Iron Claw, which tells the story of the Von Erichs: a family of pro-wrestlers in the 1980s. On the surface, it appears that it only takes a wig to transform the cast into their name-sakes, but there is a lot more to it than meets the eye. The wigs were custom for each actor and then customised further by the team for good measure.

A lot of effort also went into simulating non-dangerous sweat for the wrestling scenes; speaking to GQ, Favorule said they “had to forgo the usual movie-set suspects like glycerin and baby oil.” “The boys would have slid right off of each other,” she says, “and it’s so dangerous when they’re wrestling and picking each other up.” The final solution of shea butter and Weleda oil was “actually great at not breaking down the tattoo [coverage] [for White and Dickinson], and then the water [sprayed on the actors to simulate sweat] kind of beaded up nicely over that.” It’s fair to say The Iron Claw deserved a nomination after all of that.

Saltburn – Siân Miller

Alison Oliver as Venetia Catton in Saltburn @MGM Studios, LuckyChap Entertainment

Another example of period makeup and hairstyling being overlooked is Emerald Fennell’s second feature film Saltburn. Again, on the surface, it doesn’t appear that much work would go into transforming the cast but when looking closer, especially at Alison Olver’s makeover into Venetia, a lot of effort went into it.

Hair and Makeup head Siân Miller looked to early 2000s icons like Kate Moss to create Venetia’s signature blonde, intentionally creating brittle ends and obvious regrowth to show the rebellious and self-conscious nature of Venetia. When speaking to OffScreen, Miller stated how “we wanted clumsy hair extensions, regrowth, and chipped nail varnish, you know, which is that shabbiness? So we wanted that about her and again, the grungy eyeliner and the spray tan. It’s all in with some tattoos thrown into it.”

Costume Design

Barbie – Jacqueline Durran

Barbie costumes
The cast of Barbie @Warner Bros

A nomination we all saw coming was Jacqueline Durran for Barbie. After winning an Oscar in 2019 for Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, Gerwig and Durran reunited for the film of the summer. Durran took inspiration from Brigitte Bardot for beach-ing Barbie, and the macho trends of the 80s to transform Ryan Gosling into Ken. Durran was given access to the Chanel archives to create a lot of Barbie’s signature looks that will serve as outfit inspiration for years to come.

In an interview with British Vogue Durran says how “the defining characteristic of what [Barbie] wears is where she’s going and what she’s doing… It’s about being completely dressed for your job or task. Every doll is sold with a fashion pack, so to go to the beach, Barbie needs a coordinating dress, playsuit, bag, hat, suitable shoes, and accessories. These clothing sets change and morph depending on what is happening in Barbie Land.” Despite the lack of nominations for Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig (the creators of the film), this nomination is very well deserved.

Oppenheimer – Ellen Mironjnick

Oppenheimer costumes
Benny Safdie and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer @Universal Studios

Should Oppenheimer have been nominated for Makeup and Hair? Debatable, but Costume Design? Absolutely. Part of the reason why Oppenheimer’s costumes stand out is its total clash with same-day release competitor Barbie: “Halloween will be quite the event this year” Mironjnick said to GQ last year.

Oppenheimer apparently took his clothing very seriously, being the son of a textile importer. His signature wide-brimmed hat and turquoise belt buckle hail back to Oppenheimer’s real love of New Mexico according to Mironjnick: “He used to use that buckle to strike the match to light his pipe or his cigarette,” she says, “so it was quite cowboy-esque.” The costuming is not only reflective of the period but also the solemn seriousness of the Manhattan Project, with bright colours rarely making an appearance. Another well-deserved nomination.

Who was snubbed?

Priscilla – Stacey Battat

Priscilla costumes
Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi in Priscilla @A24

Priscilla received zero Academy Award nominations, and the fact it didn’t get a nod for Costume Design baffled many. Costume head Stacey Battat perfectly encapsulated the spirit of Priscilla Presley without making Cailee Spaeny a caricature of the iconic figure, only taking creative liberties where Battat knew it would work. The marriage between Elvis and Priscilla is expertly told through clothing, showing the closeness of their first few years together and their gradual dissonance.

Speaking to Grazia, Battat stated that she “purposely avoided using scene-stealing colours on Jacob Elordi’s Elvis. Cailee Spaeny’s Priscilla is the one the audience is drawn to. It was important that he was always relegated to the background prior to that because it’s her story.” Battat has worked on five of Sofia Coppola’s films, and for Priscilla, over 100 Anna Sui and Chanel pieces were commissioned for Spaeny. Battat’s costume design and Coppola’s meticulous attention to detail go hand in hand to curate the perfect looks for the film, a very deserving and snubbed film for a Costume Design nomination.

The nominations for this year are bound to cause a stir as there is always something left out: who do you think should have been nominated and who shouldn’t have?

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