2012 Oscar Nominees for Best Makeup: The Iron Lady

The movie title, The Iron Ladydescribes the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, played by Meryll Streep.

Nominated for an Achievement in Makeup Oscar on January 24 were J. Roy Helland, an Emmy award winning makeup artist/hairstylist for Angels in America and prosthetic designer Mark Coulier, who won Emmy Awards for Arabian Nights and the 1998 Merlin.

It required an old age makeup to 86 years. To do so as perfectly as Mark’s team did, they used PlatSil gel 10 silicone prosthetic pieces made with Smith’s theatrical deadener at 170% softener.

The neck appliance had to be soft enough to get a good stretch but compressed without buckling, which is all about putting the edges in the right place and painting into the skin in the right way, getting the right softness of silicone.

The pieces were sculpted by Barrie Gower who helped apply the makeup everyday filming, run by Leon Smickle and pre-painted by Zoe Marsden with oil colors and silicone.


The makeup also included a gelatin nose piece, which was also used in the younger Thatcher scenes, since gelatin is slightly firmer and would be more appropriate for that part of the brow. Silicone moves and wrinkles.

The forehead was free of prosthetic and stipple but instead did a lot of painting in Skin Illustrator. Bondo appliances were used to age underneath the eyes, wig roots are dyed slightly grayer, and old age stipple was used on the hands.

The process took 2 hours and 20 minute applied 46 times: the old age makeup 23 times, young 23 times.


Congratulations Dick Smith!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards Dick Smith, the makeup artist genius behind the legendary films The Exorcist, The Godfather, The Hunger, Amadeus which won him an Achievement in Makeup Oscar for in 1984, and nominated for another for Dad in 1989.

Marlon Brando in The Godfather, 1971
Linda Blair in The Exorcist
David Bowie in his 150 year old complete appliance makeup in The Hunger, 1983
the Oscar award winning finished makeup for Amadeus, 1983

Smith began his long career in 1945 as NBC’s first make-up artist and left his imprint on major motion pictures. He is also known for pioneering make-up techniques and educating make-up artists.
On November 12, he became the first make-up artist to receive an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement. Smith received the award at the Academy’s Third Annual Governors Awards, held at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Grand Ballroom.

“When I watched the wonderful film they just showed, I kept thinking, gosh, that fellow had a great career.”

Watch the videos here:

2011 Governors Awards Video Highlights | The Academy

The Exorcist | Events Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Dick Smith | Governors Awards | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

2011 Governors Awards Video Highlights | The Academy