Though critics panned Suicide Squad for its messy story, the film was received by comic book fans as a visually exciting adaptation of their favorite characters. Harley Quinn’s origin story wasn’t relayed to the audience in a concise way, but the hair and makeup styling team on Suicide Squad made Margot Robbie into a presence that dominated contemporary culture for more than a year. That inarguable effect on the zeitgeist, achieved through makeup and hair design, is what earned Suicide Squad its only Oscar nomination.
The hair and makeup designers on Suicide Squad, including Kate Hawley (The Hobbit trilogy, Pacific Rim), were tasked with bringing crazy-looking comic book characters to screen, including Harley, Joker, Killer Croc, and more.
Though Enchantress and her brother were significantly enhanced using digital effects, Enchantress’s makeup and hair design were probably taken into consideration for this nomination.
In fact, there’s an argument to be made that Suicide Squad’s visual language was improved by its use of hair and makeup design, though even its cohesive look couldn’t save its unintelligible plot. In order for a movie to be lambasted by critics and audiences alike, it needs a central, easily despised aesthetic. Batman v Superman, which was similarly rejected by critics, was too milquetoast and murky in its depiction of DC’s heroes to be memorably roasted. Suicide Squad, on the other hand, was much more recognizable, if repugnant. The team that designed the paths its runny black eyeliner took deserves credit for devising a powerful look.
In order to win, Suicide Squad will have to beat out Star Trek Into Darkness and Swedish/Persian film A Man Called Ove. Watch the awards show presentation on February 26 to see if the team pulls it off.