The Academy has shortlisted another seven finalists for one of its award categories, and at least one movie on the list was a surprise to me. Click, which is considered by many critics to be one of the worst movies of 2006 (though is popular with "the people"), has been recognized for its achievement in makeup, and depending on how the Academy's makeup branch votes on January 20, it could even garner an Oscar nomination.
Of course, a lot of bad movies are nominated for Oscars, particularly in specific artistic and technical categories like Best Makeup, but typically with this category the nominations are obvious. 2000 winner How the Grinch Stole Christmas, for example, is perfectly apparent as having distinguishable makeup, if little else of worth. What does Click have in the way of significant makeup? Well, there is some special aging makeup -- designed by the master, Rick Baker, no less -- but does anybody, including the voting makeup professionals, really pay attention to aging makeup anymore? As I think should be the case with any Oscar category, the award should honor outstanding, innovative, monumental and pioneering work. Nothing less.
Many of the other shortlisted titles are more apparent in their makeup use, but again, they may not fit my requirement for such an achievement as an Oscar. One thing that is also more difficult about some of them is the blurred line between makeup and computer effects. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, for instance, has a near-invisible seam in its combination of physical and digital makeup with characters like Davy Jones. But the seamlessness is also a factor in the success of each individual effect.
Pirates should certainly be one of the three nominees (and likely will be the winner) after the makeup branch views each movie on the shortlist. My prediction is that Apocalypto and Pan's Labyrinth will round out the noms. The other choices in the shortlist are X-Men: The Last Stand, The Prestige and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause.
One thing I always wonder when the makeup nominees (and shortlist) are announced: where's the love for horror films? And I mean the really creative horror films, not Bram Stoker's Dracula, which won the makeup honor in 1993 or Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which won in 1995. Not that either of these aren't deserving -- they are -- but they aren't nearly as interesting, in my opinion. I'm not even a fan of horror in the least, but the one thing I appreciate about the genre, especially the low-budget works, is their makeup artistry.
Other shortlisted categories: