It was no surprise to anyone at Delamar Academy, that the beautifully designed and applied make-up on Gary Oldman won the Oscar this Sunday. The visual cornerstone of the whole film is Gary’s uncanny transformation into Winston Churchill… with groundbreaking prosthetics make-up.
Transforming Gary Oldman was a mammoth undertaking spearheaded by Kazuhiro Tsuji, a Japanese prosthetics artisan who was personally requested by Gary himself. Gary knew his ability to perform as Winston was reliant on the best make-up artists. This sort of human prosthetics make-up has no margin for error or detectability, filmed in 4k HD film and displayed on a big screen. Pulling it off involved hundreds of hours of applications, pieces produced, painted and with a wig made from human hair. The continuity is a serious concern, so that each pore and freckle is identical on every piece.
You can watch his fantastic video all about the make-up:
Lucy Sibbick was the talent behind the wig and worked closely with David Malinowski who painted and applied the prosthetic pieces designed by Tsuji. This was such a new benchmark for prosthetics make-up; we are genuinely excited for what is to come from the world of prosthetics after this.
Kazuhiro made many new designs to create a balance between Gary Oldman and Winston Churchill’s face. Gary had to be able to act and convey his own facial expressions without being restricted by the prosthetics. The likeness to Winston Churchill had to be strong enough and convincing enough to impress on audiences. This delicate balance was met after months of designs, tests and re-designs.
Accepting the award, Tsuji said, “This is a dream come true for all of us, thank you.”
He also expressed his gratitude to Oldman: “It was a real honour to be on this incredible journey with you and we would not be standing here today if it wasn’t for you. You’re a wonderful actor, a dedicated artist and true friend.”
This was Tsuji’s third Oscar nomination and his first win for “Darkest Hour”. The films “Wonder” and “Victoria and Abdul” were also nominated in the makeup category this year.