It’s Awards season and once again; the ever-popular Best Makeup category will be on of the most difficult choices this year. Films up for the coveted statue include Albert Nobbs, a story about a woman overcoming a culture of oppression by disappearing into the identity of a man; The Iron Lady, the journey of the first ever woman prime minister;and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, an adventure of wizarding feats that has spanned an entire generation.

This competition proves to be one of the most interesting not only due the fact it usually only stacks three competitors up against each other, as opposed to five; every hopeful nominee must make a presentation to the Academy about why they deserve the nomination. A spectator may ask, “Why is this necessary?” In an age when CG flawlessly ages i.e. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, members of the Motion Picture Association require makeup artists to prove what they created without the aid of computer retouched.

The Iron Lady in particular made expert viewers question the authenticity. The flawless transformation of Meryl Streep’s facial features simply wowed voters into near disbelief. J. Roy Helland and Mark Coulier explained not only did they create a prosthetic nose and separate bridge piece for Streep’s character, they also added a set of dentures to Meryl’s design in order to push out her teeth to create a more severe overbite and round out Streep’s normally slender face.

Albert Nobbs designer, Matthew Mungle (previous winner for Dracula), attempted his design in an almost unusual way. Producers challenged them to use the least amount of makeup possible to turn Glenn Close into a female who could easily be mistaken for a man. Mungle ended up using a dental plumper to fill out Glenn’s bottom jaw and prosthetics to enlarge her nose and ears.

Nick Dudman headed up the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II ‘s makeup design team. Not only did they have to recreate the dastardly snake-like face of Lord Voldemort, the three main actors had to be aged to greying adults for the flick’s epilogue. The producer insisted a realistic old-age transition, which included pot bellies, prosthetic double chins, and greying hair, because the thought of strangers uttering the final words seemed to be a betrayal to the fans. “After all we have been through with these characters, the way that a generation has grown up with them, they need to be the ones on screen when it’s time to bring it to a close,” said Heyman, the film’s producer.

Unlike last year’s competition this one seems much harder to pick a winner due to the parallel subject matter. All dealt with transforming a person’s face ever so slightly to be believable without going over the top.

“There’s nothing harder than the human face because we all spend so much time looking at them,” said Rick Baker, seven time makeup Oscar winner.

While prosthetic noses have been a favorite in the past (The Hours), the Academy loves to award the final film in a box office smash series The Lord of the Rings. In the end I believe The Iron Lady will take the statue. The film about Britain’s first woman prime minister has a strong following and a shockingly, seamless transformation of Academy darling Meryl Streep.

Road to the Oscars Series

January 27: Best Live Action Short – Kit Bowen

January 31: Best Animated Short – Savanna New

February 1: Best Documentary Short – Christa Youngpeter

February 2: Best Documentary – Dantzler Smith

February 3: Best Foreign Language Film – Steve Neumann

February 4: Best Visual Effects – Michael Benedict

February 5: Best Sound Editing – Michael Benedict

February 6: Best Sound Mixing – Joseph Doherty

February 7: Best Makeup – Katie Mae Peters

February 8: Best Costume Design – Jax Russo

February 9: Best Art Direction – Scott Youngbauer

February 10: Best Film Editing – Michael Benedict

February 11: Best Cinematography – Scott Youngbauer

February 12: Best Original Score – Adam Spunberg

February 13: Best Original Song – Adam Spunberg

February 14: Best Animated Feature Film – Steve Neumann

February 15: Best Adapted Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

February 16: Best Original Screenplay – Jeremy Martin

February 17: Best Supporting Actor – Joseph Doherty

February 18: Best Supporting Actress – Angela Stern

February 20: Best Actress – Andrew Payne

February 21: Best Actor – Kit Bowen

February 22: Best Director – Andrew Payne

February 23: Best Picture – Kit Bowen