Horror At The Oscars: 7 Best Makeup Winners

The Academy glances our direction every so often.

By Angel Melanson · @HorrorGirlProbs · March 10, 2023, 6:00 PM EST

The conversation comes up at least once a year, it's no secret and no surprise the Academy pays pretty little, if any, attention to the horror genre. Sure, we've got the sporadic nods to the likes of The Exorcist, The Omen, Rosemary's Baby, Misery, Get Out but in a 94-year history, the number of horror movies nominated hovers right around 20 (depending on your definition of "what counts.") Either way, horror's got a wildly low batting average when it comes to Academy recognition and accolades. But whatever, that's why we need the Chainsaw Awards, there are way too many talented folks who deserve love and praise for their artistry.

There is one instance in which the Academy simply can't ignore horror. We get the (very) rare acting nod, the nearly impossible Best Picture nomination (six times in 94 years), or some sporadic Best Screenplay respect, but when it comes to Best Makeup, it's sure as hell hard to ignore a masterfully crafted man to wolf transformation. Here's a list of seven times horror won an Oscar for Best Makeup.



Baker famously won the first-ever Oscar for Best Makeup, (presented by Vincent Price and Kim Hunter), and the Academy was forced to put some respect on the genre. The groundbreaking transformation scene of David Laughton turning into a werewolf, his face stretching into a snout, hair wildly sprouting up all over as his spine threatens to break through skin is still impressive even over 40 years later. This earned Baker his first of seven Academy Awards, which include Harry and the Hendersons, Ed Wood, and some more werewolves we'll get into later on this list.

2. THE FLY (1986) - Chris Walas


David Cronenberg's iconic body horror, follows a scientist who transforms into a monstrous fly after an experiment goes awry. It's slimy, it's drippy, there's lots of puss and goo, and we have Chris Walas to thank for that. Jeff Goldblum's Seth Brundle goes from a full-on human to a full-on fly with all the graphic stages in between, leaving lots of room for various iterations of the Brundlefly hybrid territory for Walas to play in. The Academy thanked Walas for the Man-Fly nightmare visuals with an Oscar.

3. BEETLEJUICE (1988) - Ve Neill, Steve La Porte, and Robert Short


These makeup wizards created a whole ass Neitherworld filled with a varied cast of memorable characters. Tim Burton's technicolor Underworld was populated with bit characters who are given history and personality all through makeup design. Not to mention the decades of Halloween costume inspiration stemmed from the titular character and our undead protagonists. The makeup team won their first Oscar for their work on the movie and solidified their place in instantly recognizable, iconic makeup design history.

4. BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (1992) - Greg Cannom, Michèle Burke, and Matthew W. Mungle


Gary Oldman plays the famous Count in Francis Ford Coppola's visually stunning adaptation of Stoker's classic vampire tale. A chameleon in his own right, the makeup team took Oldman from a decaying old Count tucked away in an ancient castle to young Prince Vlad. The crepe skin and white bouffant still haunt our nightmares. Cannom, Burke, and Mungle took home the Oscar for their impressive prosthetics and makeup work on the film.

5. MEN IN BLACK (1997) - Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson

men in black edgar suit

Ok, this one isn't necessarily horror but we're adding it to the list because Vincent D'Onofrio's transformation into an extraterrestrial insect is nothing if not horrific. Kafka meets Body Snatchers. The "Edgar Suit," as the alien uncomfortably tries to situate itself in the body of D'Onofrio's character, is iconic enough in itself. The skin sagging like... well, an ill-fitting, bargain bin suit in need of a good tailor. Of course, Barry Sonnenfeld's science fiction comedy also features aliens of all shapes and sizes. Makeup artists Rick Baker and David LeRoy Anderson won the Oscar for their creative work on the film, bringing to life extraterrestrial nightmares with a comedic twist.

6. PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) - David Martí and Montse Ribé

pans labyrinth

Guillermo del Toro's dark fairy tale set in post-Civil War Spain throws us into a labyrinth inhabited by monsters of all manner. One of the most memorable creatures is The Pale Man, brought to life by the legendary Doug Jones. You know the one, the stunning eyeballs set in the palms of his hands, the sort of no-nose, and skin hanging from prominent, protruding bones. Martí and Ribé won the Oscar for their fantastic work on the film, which also included the faun character played by... that's right, none other than Doug Jones.

7. THE WOLFMAN (2010) - Rick Baker and Dave Elsey


Baker is back with another Oscar win for more werewolf action. This remake of the classic 1941 film features another transformation of the lead character, played by Benicio Del Toro, into a werewolf. With a design totally different from An American Werewolf In London, this time drawing inspiration from Jack Pierce's design, turning our protagonist into a pants-wearing biped as opposed to a fully bestial quadruped. Baker and Elsey won the Oscar for their work on the film, which included both extensive prosthetic and animatronic work.