Updated March 1, 2011
Rick Baker and Dave Elsey won the Achievement in Makeup Oscar for The Wolfman at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, held Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. In a brief acceptance speech, the artists thanked their wives and Elsey thanked the actors, the entire crew and “Universal Studios for their legacy of horror monsters that we love so much.”
This is Baker’s seventh Oscar, and it has brought him full circle. He received his first Oscar, and the first for any make-up artist, for his work on An American Werewolf in London. He also won Oscars for his work in Harry and the Hendersons, Ed Wood, The Nutty Professor, Men in Black and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Backstage, he thanked the Wolfman producers and director, the visual effects team, “all the make-up and hair people,” and the actors, including Hugo Weaving, to whom he said: “I hope they make a sequel because I want to work on you.” Baker also thanked his daughters Veronica and Rebecca, who were in attendance.
This is Dave Elsey’s first Oscar. He was previously nominated for Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith. His work appears in such films as Mission: Impossible, Ghost Rider and Where the Wild Things Are. At the backstage ‘Thank-You Cam,’ Elsey thanked his parents for encouraging him, his aunt and uncle for giving him his first workshop and his grandfather for taking him to see horror movies when he was a kid. Elsey also thanked many crew members by name.
Both artists cited the original Wolf Man, with make-up by Jack Pierce, as their inspiration for pursuing make-up careers. Baker also recognized Clay Campbell and Roy Ashton as artists who inspired him.
When asked backstage what it means to him to be an inspiration to other artists, such as fellow nominee Adrien Morot, Baker said, “It’s nice to have my work inspire somebody … And it’s just as Jack Pierce’s work inspired me to get into the business. So it’s great. And Dave and I both felt that this year … if we didn’t win, that both of the films we were up against, we wouldn’t mind losing to because I thought they all did just a really terrific job and are really fine make-up artists.”
Elsey was also inspired by his co-winner. During his acceptance speech, he said, “It was always my ambition to lose an Oscar one day to Rick Baker. This is better. Thank you.”
For more on the make-up in The Wolfman, see Issues 82, 83 and 87 of Make-Up Artist magazine. Click here for exclusive video commentary from Baker and Elsey about their work on The Wolfman.
BELOW (top to bottom): Baker, Elsey and Blanchett backstage. Photo by Photo by Todd Wawrychuk/©A.M.P.A.S.; Elsey watching his newly engraved Oscar get polished. Photo by Darren Decker/©A.M.P.A.S.; Baker getting his newly engraved Oscar polished. Photo by Darren Decker/©A.M.P.A.S.; Baker and Elsey with their Oscars. Photo by Darren Decker/©A.M.P.A.S.; Elsey and wife Lou at the Governors Ball. Photo by Photo by Richard Harbaugh/©A.M.P.A.S.