Morot’s Oscar nom all about the subtlety

Adrien Morot is a self-professed “big make-up nerd.”

And after 23 years of being a make-up artist on major Hollywood blockbusters the likes of 300 and The Day After Tomorrow, he’s earned one of the highest industry honors: an Oscar nomination for his work on Barney’s Version.

The Montreal-based Morot remains humble about the nod, acknowledging that it was a “nice pat on the back,” but explained that getting there was an intense process.

He presented a 10-minute film clip in front of the Academy’s make-up branch and recalls their surprised reaction at the amount of make-up work.

“I don’t think people thought much until after that presentation,” he tells Playback Daily with a laugh. “There was an ammo of questions and it was very rewarding to have that response.

“When you’re doing an alien, it’s obvious, but in this case (Barney’s Version), you know you did a good job because people didn’t notice. Often, make-up is over the top but you just have to keep yourself in check. You don’t want it to be a distraction.”

He first read the script before Paul Giamatti was cast in the titular role. When lobbying for the job, Morot rendered photos of the actor in Photoshop to show what he’d look at various stages as an older man.

His efforts impressed the director and producers, landing him the gig. Morot spent a lot of time with the actors, finding out how they saw their characters and did more Photoshop rendering to literally flesh out their visions.

Rosamund Pike ages from her 20s to 60s in Barney's Version

“Actors should be comfortable with what I put on them,” he says. “Aging happens so gradually and smoothly. People watching didn’t even realize that Paul (Giamatti) was wearing rubber all the way from his forehead to his chest – someone thought he gained 30 pounds!”

Morot’s arsenal includes the same materials used for medical prosthetics and breast implants, which has a more flesh-like, supple nature.

Being organized was vital. He’s used to having up to four hours of prep time, but didn’t have that luxury on Barney’s Version, having just over two hours to do his magic. His small team consisted of two others working on prosthetics, one lead make-up artist and assistant, and one lead hair artist and assistant.

“For the amount of work we had to do, we could have doubled the size,” he remarks, having worked on teams as large as 120.

Morot is up against The Way Back (Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng) and The Wolfman (Rick Baker and Dave Elsey). The Oscars will be handed out on February 27.

Images courtesy of Adrien Morot.