The Misery Loves Company Best No-Makeup Awards


The tradition of No Make-up = Best Actress goes back at least to Kathy Bates in "Misery" (1990). If a movie star doesn’t have her face all dolled up for the camera that’s got to mean she’s really digging deep and giving a raw performance. This year offers a powerful slate of un-made-up actresses and no doubt we’ll be seeing their names come Oscar time on February 22.


Such as Kristin Scott Thomas in Philippe Claudel’s “I've  Loved You So Long.”  Here’s the formula for Oscar success: just out of prison, chain-smoking, no affect, and not only no make-up but speaking in French!


Anne Hathaway has a similar set-up in Jonathan Demme’s "Rachel Getting Married" : just released from re-hab, smoking and the kind of  garden shears hair cut that helped Angelina Jolie get her Oscar in "Girl, Interrupted" (1999). But did she screw her chances by getting a makeover later in the movie?


Sometimes an actress needs a little help from the make-up department in order to achieve that no-makeup effect. Like Kate Winslet in Stephen Baldry's “The Reader”who takes on “Monster” (Best Actress for Charlize Theron in 2003) proportions after spending most of the movie as an ex-SS hottie parading around in the nude, and no make-up.


Less extreme both in the look and the fascism is Meryl Streep who embodies every Catholic boy’s mother superior fantasy in John Patrick Shanley's “Doubt.” 


And then sometimes the no makeup look actually does go along with an Oscar-worthy performance, as with Michelle Williams in Kelly Reichardt’s “Wendy and Lucy.”


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