This past week, the Academy released their shortlist for the Best Makeup & Hairstyling Oscar, and The Shape Of Water didn’t even make the cut. Easily the most stunning cinematic creation on screen this year has been left out of the category it all but had in the bag. This is even more of a shock when you compare 2006’s Pan’ Labyrinth, which was not only nominated in the same category but won, and del Toro’s 2008’s sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army was also nominated.
In the end, other makeup heavy films did make the shortlist including the vast alien species of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Gary Oldman’s soon to be nominated performance as Winston Churchill in Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour is also on the list, and often times incredible aging make-ups that help to create a realistic depiction often win in this category.
Ultimately it might be that the Academy feels that the Amphibian man is more of a visual effect than a makeup one, and The Shape Of Water does make the VFX Oscar shortlist, where it will probably land a nomination, as well as a slew of other technical nods.
Check out the full shortlist below, which will only come down to three nominations instead of the usual five:
Ghost in the Shell
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Victoria & Abdul
Creature sculpting team of Shane Mahan and Mike Hill, as well as artists David Grasso and David Meng, designed the Amphibian man specifically with actor Doug Jones in mind. Jones, a consummate costume actor has appeared in many (more than half his filmography) in del Toro’s movies.
Learn more about the making of the creature in The Shape Of Water in the clip below:
A goal from the outset was to make this creature is not just horrific but a handsome one, too. That meant filling out actor Doug Jones’ lips and giving him a tight monster bod. The makeup is integral to make us believe this is a living, breathing creature and it’s Doug Jones, who brings a sense of body language, complete with vulnerable eyes and a masculine, dancer like-physique, that culminates in what is his greatest performance to date. It’s a shame that the hard work that went behind putting this character on screen will not be honored at the Oscar’s (at least not in the Makeup & Hairstyling category).
Moreover, not only was The Shape Of Water snubbed in this category but so was one of the most successful films of the year, IT. Not even the incredibly effective Pennywise makeup was considered although, again, this might have come down to the incredible amount of VFX enhancements that transformed Bill Skarsgård into the inter-dimensional nightmare fuel.
But if both IT and The Shape Of Water were considered more visual-effects based how does something like Ghost In The Shell, which was primarily a CGI-based film considered in this category? In the end, Ghost In The Shell will probably not make the cut as it will come down to Bright (this is the second year in a row that a David Ayer film will be nominated in this category; Suicide Squad actually winning the Oscar for it), Darkest Hour and Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, with the dark horse being I, Tonya.
All members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films on January 6. Members then will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.
Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on January 23, and the ceremony is set for March 4 on ABC, who will broadcast the ceremony live.
Images: Fox Searchlight, Warner Bros., AMPAS