The Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium - an Oscar day in the life of an MUA...


I recently attended the annual Makeup Artist and Hairstylist Symposium held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater the Saturday prior to the Academy Awards.  All nominated artists attend the symposium, as well as colleagues, students and family members.

This year the nominated artists are:

Aldo Signoretti (hairstylist) and Vittorio Sodano (makeup and effects artist) for IL Divo.



Aldo Signoretti started his career in Rome as a hairstylist and makeup artist on the films of Visconti, Fellini and Zeffirelli.  His credits include: The Last Temptation of Christ, Troy, Gangs of New York and Kingdom of Heaven.  He has won two Emmy Awards and has been honored with two previous Oscar nominations for his work in Apocalypto (2006) and Moulin Rouge (2001).

Vittorio Sodano is a native of Italy.  He started his makeup career at the age of 18 as a sculptor and prosthetic makeup artist at Cinecitta in Rome.  In 1989 he worked with Academy Award-winning makeup artist, Manlio Rocchettti at his special effects lab in Rome, which is the biggest specialized prosthetic makeup centers in Europe.  He was also a makeup nominee for Apocalytpo (2006).  His film credits include: The Black Dahlia, Ocean's Twelve, Empire of the Wolves, The Life Aquatic and Against the Wind.

Barney Burman (alien designer and creator), Mindy Hall (makeup department head) and Joel Harlow (Vulcans and Romulans creator) for Star Trek.



Barney Burman was literally born in the world of movie makeup!  His grandfather, Ellis Burman, created prosthetics, special props and animatronics for such early Hollywood films as The Wolf Man (1941) and his father, Thomas R. Burman, was Oscar-nominated for the makeup of Scrooged.  Barney started his own company, Proteus Makeup FX in 2004 and in addition to feature film work; he has worked on such TV series as The X-Files, Scrubs and Medium.  His feature film credits include: Fame, Tropic Thunder, Mission: Impossible III, Master and Commander, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Mindy Hall began her career in makeup as an apprentice at the San Francisco Opera.  She pursued work on Broadway and television before landing in the film industry in the late 1980s.  Mindy has been quoted describing her work on Star Trek as, “a collaborative energy!  Our group worked together as one, without borders and with true unity.  We overlapped our talents and skills in a wonderful way!”  Her feature film credits include: Pearl Harbor, A Walk in the Clouds, P.S. I Love You and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.

Joel Harlow attended the New York School of Visual Arts interested in makeup, but majoring in animation “by default.”  In 2001, Joel formed the company Harlow FX, which has since evolved into Joel Harlow Designs.  He has worked in television as well as feature films, earning Emmys for Stephen King’s The Shining, The Stand and receiving nominations for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Carnivale and Mad Men.  His feature film credits include: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Man’s Chest and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, War of the Worlds, The Ring Two, Angels & Demons and I Love You Phillip Morris.

Jenny Shircore (makeup and hair designer) and Jon Henry Gordon (hairstylist) for The Young Victoria.




Jenny Shircore was born in India and moved to England at the age of 10.  She studied hairdressing at the London College of Fashion and was hired by the BBC, where she worked in the hair and makeup department for 15 years.  She began her feature film career as an independent contractor with the 1985 film Dreamchild, which was inspired by Alice in Wonderland.  She won a BAFTA Award for Best Makeup & Hair for Elizabeth (1998) and The Young Victoria (2009).   Her feature film credits include: The Phantom of the Opera, Vanity Fair, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Notting Hill, Mary Reilly and Mrs. Henderson Presents.

Jon Henry Gordon trained at Clarendon College in Nottingham and with several major wig companies before he got the change to join the Royal National Theatre.  Working on such shows as 42nd Street, The Phantom of the Opera and The Merchant of Venice, he met Dustin Hoffman who brought Gordon with him for Merchant’s 1989 Broadway production.  His feature film credits include:  Titanic, Inkheart, Enigma, Anna and the King, Elizabeth: the Golden Age, Amazing Grace and
Mrs. Henderson Presents.

It was amazing to listen and learn from these incredible artists.  I was stunned to know that every actor who portrayed a Vulcan in the movie Star Trek had to have their natural eyebrows removed (waxed/tweezed off) and then every false hair was pain-stakingly re-laid in order to create the Vulcan defined shaped eyebrow!

Below are a few personal photos taken at the symposium and I would like to congratulate Barney Burman, Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow for taking home the Oscar for Star Trek!