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
Jun 25
Tokyo police have arrested a man on suspicion of breaking a restraining order he was given for stalking the actress Momoko Kikuchi. (NHK)
Jun 23
Police in Tokyo said Friday they have arrested a 37-year-old woman on suspicion of abusing her 4-year-old daughter by pressing a hot frying pan against her back and beating her about the head and face. (Japan Today)
Jun 22
A man who slashed three people, including one fatally, with a knife at a housing complex in Yokohama early Thursday, has been found dead after apparently committing suicide, police said. (Japan Today)
Jun 22
Police have arrested a 44-year-old woman on suspicion of murdering her 40-year-old brother by making it look like he committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning. (Japan Today)
Jun 22
A tower at the historic, quake-damaged Kumamoto Castle in southern Japan -- one of the country's three premier castles and once a major tourist attraction -- has collapsed, an official said Thursday. (Japan Today)
Jun 22
The "Dokaben" popular Japanese baseball manga series, which has been published off and on in a weekly magazine since 1972, will end in the next issue due out on June 28. (Jiji)
Jun 21
People in Osaka are still reeling from Monday's major earthquake. (NHK)
Jun 21
Police have arrested a teen suspected of involvement in a knife attack Tuesday on a 9-year-old boy -- causing serious head trauma -- who was returning home from school in Shizuoka Prefecture, local authorities said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Jun 20
A 39-year-old man wanted by police in connection with the death of a nurse has been found dead in Niigata City, having apparently committed suicide, police said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Jun 19
Police in Kitakyushu said Monday they have arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of fatally abusing his 4-year-son after he locked the boy inside a storage cabinet beneath a TV stand at their house. (Japan Today)