Sculptor Kazuhiro Tsuji wins best makeup Oscar for transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill
artnet.com -- Mar 06
At last night's Academy Awards, the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling went to Kazuhiro Tsuji for his work on The Darkest Hour. It's an honor that very easily could have eluded him: In 2011, Tsuji quit the film industry, turning instead to art and dedicating himself to making larger-than-life, hyperrealistic sculptures of famous artists and other notable figures. Then Gary Oldman came calling.

Oldman was in talks to play Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hour, but he knew that his own acting chops were only part of the battle. (Last night's awards also saw Oldman take home the best actor award.) He had previously become close to Tsuji while they were working on Tim Burton's 2001 remake of The Planet of the Apes, and there was no one else the British actor trusted to do the job.

Tsuji---whose resume includes Norbit (2011), Men in Black (1997), and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)---had been burned in the past, with an allegedly traumatizing on-set experience working with a temperamental Jim Carrey on How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). The stress of that experiment sent him to therapy and Tsuji later dropped out of the industry to become a full-time sculptor.

"My aim is to sculpt portraits that go beyond capturing a likeness. I create these heads from the inside out, bringing to life the appearance of inner thought and emotion as I layer the silicone," Tsuji wrote in an artist statement about his work, which is done at eight times life scale. "The stillness and detail allow for close examination of each pore with a level of scrutiny not even permitted to lovers. The sculptures permit an impossibly close shared moment with the celebrated."

Turning Oldman into Churchill was a challenge that took six months of makeup testing and more than three hours in the chair each day. "They don't look like each other at all," Tsuji told New York Magazine. "The proportions of the face, the placement of the eyes and nose and mouth, if they are close to each other it's easy to make him look like Churchill. But it's almost totally opposite. Churchill's eyes are buggy and farther apart, Gary's eyes are deep-set and close to each other."

Tsuji struck a delicate balance, creating prosthetics for Oldman's cheeks, jowls, neck, nose, and chin, but leaving the actor's eyes, forehead, and mouth alone to allow his expressions to shine through. Churchill's wispy hair was a fragile wig, made partially from expensive baby hair, which had to be replaced every ten days, and his blotchy pink skin tone was replicated with makeup.

News source: artnet.com
Sep 18
Police on Monday sent papers to prosecutors on a 69-year-old taxi driver on a charge of reckless driving resulting in death after his vehicle hit and killed the 45-year-old driver of a hire car in Tokyo's Roppongi district. (Japan Today)
Sep 17
Kirin Kiki, a veteran Japanese film and television actress known for her unique roles, has died at her home in Tokyo, a source close to her said Sunday. She was 75. (Japan Today)
Sep 17
"Really, really thank you," iconic Japanese pop singer Namie Amuro told thousands of fans at the end of her final live stage performance, held in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, on Saturday, the day before her retirement from the show business. (Jiji)
Sep 15
The nation's centenarian population hit a record-high of 69,785 as of September, with women accounting for 88.1 percent of the total, amid medical advances and greater health consciousness, the health ministry said Friday. (Japan Times)
Sep 14
Britain's Prince William offered his sympathy to victims of recent disasters in Japan as he officially opened a new Japanese cultural centre in London on Thursday. (Japan Today)
Sep 14
Hitomi Yoshizawa, 33, a former member of the Japanese pop group Morning Musume, who was arrested on Sept 6 for driving under the influence of alcohol in a hit-and-run incident in Tokyo, has admitted she drank more than three cans of chuhai (fruit-flavored alcoholic cocktail) before the incident. (Japan Today)
Sep 13
Health authorities in Saitama Prefecture said that the V. parahaemolyticus bacteria found in raw sea urchin is most likely the cause of 11 cases of food poisoning at conveyor belt sushi chain Totoyamichi in stores in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama and Yamanashi prefectures. (Japan Today)
Sep 13
Pope Francis says he wants to visit Japan next year for the first time since assuming the papacy in 2013. (NHK)
Sep 13
More than 1,600 people in Hokkaido are still evacuated from their homes 6 days after a powerful earthquake hit the northern prefecture. (NHK)
Sep 12
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito has expressed hope for the further development of friendly ties with France in a speech he delivered in Paris. (NHK)