Movie Makeup Moments That Completely Blew Our Minds


The Face Off: Game Face finale airs tonight at 10e 7p on Space, and yet another season of incredible feats of makeup has us thinking about all those times makeup artists rendered actors we know and love nearly unrecognisable with their seriously impressive skills. It wasn’t a time machine that made Brad Pitt age in reverse in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—it was a makeup team consisting of around 70 artists.

But it isn’t just Best Makeup and Hairstyling Oscar winners like Button’s Greg Cannom who deserve recognition. The genre films we know and love still manage to awe audiences despite being looked over by the Academy, so we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite makeup looks from sci fi, horror, and fantasy films.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique

Yeah, Jennifer Lawrence’s X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past, and Apocalypse action scenes looked super tough to execute. But arguably tougher? Sitting tight in the makeup chair for seven hours while six artists worked to paint her entire body and face blue. And yet she still signed on to 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix. What a trooper.


Helena Bonham Carter as Ari


2001’s Planet of the Apes saw Bonham Carter play Ari in Tim Burton’s remake of the Oscar-winning 1968 movie, which may or may not have given some of us here at Space recurring nightmares as children. The Burton film didn’t win any major awards, but it may well have inspired fresh nightmares in the next generation of precocious young film buffs.


Jim Carrey as The Grinch


Carrey is famous for his rubber-like face which he pulls into dozens of weird and completely unnatural positions. Taking advantage of that malleable base, How The Grinch Stole Christmas makeup artists Rick Baker and Gail Rowell-Ryan turned Carrey green (not for the first time, we’ll point out) and gave him layers of prosthetics to play with and pull into all new expressions. It won them an Oscar.


Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle


You can say that again, Jeff Goldblum. Leave it to creepy genius David Cronenberg to turn the loveable actor into a mega-gross monster in his 1986 body horror film, The Fly. Poor Geena Davis—not since Kafka has anyone had to break up with their S.O. because they were slowly turning into an insect.


Ron Perlman as Hellboy


Okay, so Perlman already had the perfect bone structure to play Hellboy—but that doesn’t mean the makeup team got to slack off. Someone had to paint that freakishly strong jaw crimson.


Idris Elba as Krall


We don’t know this to be a fact, but we’d say it’s a reasonable hypothesis that the most recent Star Trek movie was titled Star Trek: Beyond because Idris Elba is beyond recognition in his Klingon makeup. Shout out to Sofia Boutella’s Jaylah, too. The makeup department managed to move her forehead up by like half a foot. Artists Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo earned that Oscar nom.


Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter


“Johnny Depp can’t act anymore!” they said. “Tim Burton’s jumped the shark!” they claimed. Well that didn’t stop the Alice in Wonderland makeup and hair team from making Depp’s Mad Hatter look one of the most standout elements in a incredibly so-so film. The Academy thought the costumes and art direction were pretty rad, too.


Ralph Fiennes as Lord Voldemort


Harry Potter is based on the idea of wizards and their magic, yet we’re still asking ourselves ‘How’d they do that?’ over the disappearing act the franchise’s makeup team achieved with Ralph Fiennes’ nose.