- Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016
- LOS ANGELES
The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road top this year’s field of Oscar nominations with a dozen and 10, respectively. Yet in the Makeup and Hairstyling category, they are vying with a deserving yet lower profile film that has but one Academy Award nod, having debuted in the U.S. in 2015, two years after its premiere overseas: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared (Music Box Films), directed by Felix Herngren who teamed with Hans Ingemansson to write the adapted screenplay (based on the novel by Jonas Jonasson).
The film from Sweden has earned makeup and hair designers/artists--and married couple--Love Larson and Eva von Bahr their first career Oscar nominations which puts them on par with their counterparts on Mad Max: Fury Road (Leslie Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, Damian Martin) and The Revenant (Sian Gregg, Duncan Jarman, Robert Pandini) who are also all first-time nominees.
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared--the highest grossing Swedish movie of all time--stars Robert Gustafsson in the title role of Allan Karlsson who’s led a colorful life working in munitions and getting entangled in the Spanish Civil War, the Manhattan Project and other historic events of the 20th century. But after all his exciting escapades, Karlsson finds himself stuck in a nursing home. Determined to escape on his 100th birthday, he leaps out of a window and onto the nearest bus, embarking on an adventure involving a suitcase filled with loot, and encounters with gangsters and an elephant named Sonya.
Marked by irreverent charm, The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared may not have the mainstream global attention of The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road but Herngren’s comic fable is picking up momentum internationally and in the U.S. And of course, it’s a big deal in Sweden, earning what’s billed as being that country’s first Oscar nomination for Makeup and Hairstyling, and returning that nation to the glory days when Oscar nods were a more regular occurrence due largely to legendary filmmaker Ingmar Bergman.
“No other Swede has been nominated in this [Makeup and Hairstyling] category before,” related Larson. “I don’t think we have yet fully realized we got a nomination. But we know to be in such great company [Mad Max and The Revenant; there are only three nominations in the category] is quite an honor.”
It isn’t like Larson and von Bahr are not accustomed to being in the limelight. The recently won the Swedish Oscar for best hair and make-up for A Man Called Ove. Larson worked on prosthetics for director Sam Mendes’ Skyfall and served as makeup artist/hair stylist on the Alex Gibney documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks. And Larson teamed with von Bahr on David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
The latter film is what led to Larson and von Bahr getting the opportunity to work on The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. Malte Forssell, who served as a producer in Sweden on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, was a producer on The 100 Year Old Man. He brought Larson and von Bahr, whom he collaborated with on Fincher’s film, together with director/writer Herngren for the first time.
As for the creative challenges posed by The 100 Year Old Man, Larson said the most daunting was simply “to age a person believably on film. All the audience’s eyes are on him, on his face. It’s one of the toughest make-up jobs to pull off. If you fail, you may never work again.”
The key to successfully meeting that challenge was, said Larson, “First of all you have to have a really good actor who can play old. That’s essential. A lot of actors think they know what an old man is but Robert really did all the small nuances. It’s also important to base all your work on reality--to not try to do too much with makeup, to not make the character over-wrinkled or super wrinkled. That would look fake. You see a one-hundred year old man or woman in real life and often they look pretty healthy. That’s how they’ve lived that long to begin with.”
Larson and von Bahr try to work together as much as possible. They have a six-year-old son who travels with them on jobs as they try to maintain a semblance of family life while in the throes of filmmaking. The make-up/hair artists might be collaborating again on a prospective project that’s gaining steam, a 100 Year Old Man sequel.
This is the 14th in a multi-part series with future installments of The Road To Oscar slated to run in the weekly SHOOT>e.dition, The SHOOT Dailies and on SHOOTonline.com. The series will appear weekly through the Academy Awards. The Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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