‘Les Miserables’ Dreams Up Oscars For Hair, Make-Up

by Drew Taylor

While there seemed to be a potential bevy of contenders, it turned out to be just three sets of talented artists vying for the Best Make-Up and Hair Oscar this year (sincerest apologies to whoever made everyone Asian in “Cloud Atlas”). Still, the winners have been chosen…and those winners are Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell, from “Les Miserables.” If they dreamed a dream that they won an Oscar, that dream just came true.

Make-up and hair designer Lisa Westcott had been nominated twice before, both for historical dramas: “Mrs. Brown” (back in 1998) and, a year later, for “Shakespeare in Love.” This is the first nomination and win for make-up and hair artist Julie Dartnell.

In her incredibly brief acceptance speech, Westcott said, “Whoa, thank you so much! It’s quite overwhelming. I feel like only that I am a little bit of this and the rest goes to them.”

The team beat out two incredibly talented groups of artists, as well, besting Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel for “Hitchcock” and Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane for “Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

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Make-up artist Berger, who helped form the influential KNB Effects Group, won an Oscar for his work in “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (mostly for turning James McAvoy into a weird centaur), while hair department head Martin Samuel has been nominated twice before for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (it’s weird Samuel wasn’t nominated for the second film; maybe John Depp’s dreadlocks were “off?”). This is the first nomination for special effects make-up artist Montagna.

Peter Swords King, who probably has the coolest name of any Oscar nominee this year because it includes the word “swords,” is a hair and make-up designer who had previously won an Oscar for a trip to Middle Earth, for “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.” And while it’s the first nomination for key make-up artist and hair supervisor Rick Findlater, prosthetics supervisor Tami Lane has already won an Oscar for her work on “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (she won the Oscar alongside fellow nominee Howard Berger).

The hair and make-up win was the first win for “Les Miserables” of the night.

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