Makeup artists don’t always get the recognition they deserve in Hollywood. After all, if they’ve done their job properly, their handiwork should not be noticeable. They didn’t get their own regular Oscar award until the ’80s, and even today, only three films are nominated rather than five as in other categories.
One exception to this makeup reality is Rick Baker, who honed his skills on the set of The Exorcist and took home his first Oscar in 1982 for creating the groundbreaking transformations in John Landis’ An American Werewolf in London. Since then, he’s picked up half a dozen more and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His latest honor was a lifetime achievement award bestowed by Landis at the recent Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards. “I was just a kid who wanted to be a makeup artist, and that is still how I see myself. And I am just so pleased it happened,” Baker modestly said at the ceremony.
As more directors turn to CGI to get their creatures, Baker’s realism remains in demand. He says one of his proudest accomplishments was the Bigfoot he created for Harry and the Hendersons. “That was nearly 30 years ago,” he recalls “but if you go back and watch it today, many people still buy it.”