Truth be told, I didn't come across that many worthy contenders for Best Hair and Makeup this year (I haven't even seen all seven of the Academy's bakeoff finalists), but hey, I can always go back and change my nominees if I eventually see something better. Anywho, the three best I've seen so far are:
(Judy Chin, Paul LeBlanc, Michael Marino):
Darkly stylized stage makeup and grisly bodily transformation horrors dance together in this beautiful psychological thriller.
(Donald Mowatt, Johnny Villanueva):
Whether it's Christian Bale's burnt-out drug addict, Mark Whalberg's battered boxer's mug, or the subtle aging work done on Melissa Leo, all the makeup efforts are realistic and believable.
(Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight, Lisa Tomblin):
There may not have been many new characters to create, but the makeup work here is still highly detailed and effective, especially at making the three leads look progressively wearier and worn down throughout their saga.
(Eduouard Enrique, Yolanda Tousseing):
The work done on Peter Weir's "modest" epic (by the same Oscar-nominated team of Master and Commander) is so good you almost don't even notice. The realization of sunburns, swollen feet, and general dishevelment is detailed and incredibly realistic.
What is there really to say? When Rick Baker's on the job, you know he's gonna give you nothing less than Oscar-worthy makeup. Not only are the werewolf effects awesome, but the wound and illness effects are rendered just as artfully.
Just missed: Shutter Island