Sometimes, a really great element of a film is overlooked. However, this element adds so much to a film that eliminating it would ruin the film. This new series of posts will deal with the under appreciated and ignored elements of films that just don't get their due. For Your Consideration hinges on a very simple concept: the two leading performers in the independent drama Home for Purim are getting old. Their best years are behind them and, for many people, their careers aren't important or relevant anymore. That makes For Your Consideration an improvised comedy film about making a film that also acts as commentary on making a film and the Hollywood hype machine. You got all that?
One major element of the film is the transformation of Catherine O'Hara's character Marilyn Hack. She goes from being a career actress with little acclaim to a woman on the verge of an Oscar nomination overnight. This happens in spite of her older appearance aged even further to play the dying matriarch of a southern Jewish family during the 1940s.
Here's a comparison of Catherine O'Hara in 2006, her character Marilyn Hack without makeup, and her character's character Esther with makeup.
Without even getting into the later prosthetics, we're already dealing with beautiful naturalistic makeup. O'Hara tends to be more tan than Hack, which means a light and very natural beauty makeup was done to tone down her skin tone to the paler shade of her character. Then, from there, the paler tone was used as a reference to make her sickly pale, with sunken eyes, more pronounced wrinkles, and horribly splotchy skin. It looks real, which is the sign of a talented makeup team.
Makeup designer Kate Shorter--multiple Emmy-nominee for her work on Mad Men and State of the Union--and key makeup artist Felicia Linsky--multiple Emmy-nominee for her work on Mad TV--lead a strong team of makeup artists here. Shorter's designs for Marilyn Hack's transformation into a Botoxed and injected star refusing to age gracefully is genius. It's prop comedy that comes to life in O'Hara's strong performance.
Normally, facial appliances that cannot move with the actor at all are a bad thing. Here, they're essential. Marilyn Hack is incapable of moving her face and showing any emotion because she is obsessed with aging. Now that she thinks she has an Oscar nomination in the bag, she wants to compete with the younger actresses for better roles.
While the Marilyn Hack makeup is the most obvious thing to point out, it's not the only exceptional work going on in For Your Consideration. For example, this Old Hollywood/1940s style going on with Jennifer Coolidge's producer character Whitney Taylor Brown is pretty special.
Then there's this shockingly pale makeup on Rachael Harris. She's naturally pale, but this is Casper status. This is her actor's character Mary Pat Hooligan--a butch lesbian in the 1940s--'s makeup.
Harris' character is obviously the parody of the deglam Oscar campaign. She even goes on about how hard it is to play a lesbian in a film because you don't get to be pretty.
Second only to Marilyn Hack's plastic surgery nightmare is the transformation of Fred Willard and Jane Lynch into entertainment reporters Chuck and Cindy. Chuck is Seacrest orange and Cindy has been under the knife one too many times.
What the makeup does in For Your Consideration is quickly give the audience a visual clue into important aspects of characters. Professional actors, managers, publicists, producers, and entertainment journalists aren't going to spend five minutes talking about a person's background or growth arc. They're too invested in their own career to care about anyone else's. Instead, we have some masterful makeup going to to fill in those back-stories before the characters even say a word.