This past Sunday, on February 9th, 2020, the 92nd Academy Awards took place. The talk of the town seems to be a toss up between Joaquin Phoenix winning Best Actor for his role in Joker, and the game-changing Korean film, Parasite, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture. But what’s also worth noting are the various, glamorous makeup looks the Oscars delivered this year, too!
QC executive instructor and professional celebrity makeup artist, Nathan Johnson, takes a look at 5 of the celebrities who walked the red carpet on this memorable night, and whose makeup looks were award-winning in and of themselves.
1. Zazie Beetz
This look is the epitome of perfection! The foundation match is so exact that it appears invisible. Social media teaches people to pound it on, but if you look in the real world, you’ll see that this is barely done by professional makeup artists.
The blush is applied so softly that it achieves the true glow from within Beetz herself. The focus of this makeup look is the sultry application of the eyes. The lid shade is a bump up from her skin tone, creating a clean but bright palette that allows the smoked liner and delicate touches of black on the outer lid to really shine. This is a masterclass in the power of technique. Nothing bold or loud, yet she looks spectacular and captivating.
2. Lucy Boynton
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L U C Y • B O Y N T O N 🇬🇧 All #Chanel everywhere for #lucyboynton #oscars2020 moment. Head to toe @chanelofficial gown with classic #blackandwhite elegance ...pairs perfectly with a statement red @chanel.beauty lip!! Using #cameliarouge (from the new 8 shade camellia collection) brought the right amount of striking bold feminine energy to finish off this look!! Style @leithclark Hair @jennychohair Nails @stephstonenails Makeup by me #jobakermakeupartist using @welovecoco #welovecoco #workingwithchanel 💋
This is another example of the power of mastering foundation as a makeup artist. Boynton’s skin looks perfect from every angle, yet not a trace of foundation or concealer can be seen. The ability to perfect skin to at this level is extraordinary.
The focus of this look is split between the eyes and the lips. Aside from a soft touch of pink on the outer corner of the crease, the lid is fresh and clean. This sets the stage for her statement lashes. The lashes have been applied so perfectly, that even without liner going into the inner corner of the eye, they look natural.
The light liner on the lower water line opens up eye, adding more to Boynton’s wide-eyed innocence. The red lip is a striking contrast to that innocence, adding a touch of sexy to her look. A perfect red lip is extremely difficult to execute, and leaves no room for error. Yet here, you can clearly see that this one is both sharp and on point!
3. Ava Duvernay
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A night on the town with my sweet sister @teraduvernay whose birthday is tomorrow. We cheered Taika, Bong and my dearest @matthewacherry as all three brought home gold tonight. Thanks, @radhikajones and @vanityfair for the best viewing dinner party around. xo Styling: @jasonbolden @starburleigh Makeup: @adamburrell Hair: @drkariwill Gown: @galialahav Pumps: @kurtgeiger Clutch: @judithleiberny Jewelry: @apmmonaco @ruchinewyork
This is the makeup look that Instagrammers will likely run away with. It has the bolder brow, the dramatic shadow blended up to the brow, the lush shadow blended out below the lash line, and the flawless contour. But unlike with the social media variations that will come of this look, Duvernay’s is done with true technique, by an expert makeup artist.
Note the symmetry in all aspects of the makeup that are visible (as part of the photo, specifically the left eye, is concealed). The black is smoked perfectly around the eye; lighter as it goes toward the tear duct, and richer as it reaches the outer corner of the eye. This keeps Duvernay’s eyes from getting closed down by the darkness, and instead allows them to look longer on her face.
The brow is powerful, but it strikes the perfect balance and doesn’t distract from the eye makeup. The nude lip has a glow that keeps it sexy, but the focus really goes to the eyes. Perfect skin, perfect contour (notice how you see her features, not the contour itself), and genuinely stunning all round!
4. Olivia Wilde
The way Wilde’s makeup artist has done her skin is breathtaking. Again, the flawless match and ease of application makes everything appear effortlessly perfect. The glow on the cheeks adds a stunning life to her face.
The magic of this look, though, is the extended cat eye. Unlike a traditional cat eye, which only comes from a liner applied to the lid, this one dazzles by allowing the black to carry through the crease before fading into a nude shadow. The nude lip allows the eye to really shine. With no drop shadow or lower eyeliner, the upper lid becomes even more prominent. This makeup look is really special.
5. Janelle Monae
Monae’s beauty is truly timeless as it is, and her makeup at the 2020 Oscars really allows her to shine. The perfectly groomed and set brows create an amazing upper frame for the eyes, while the rich garnet blush perfectly creates the lower frame. The brighter lid is offset by the rich shade blended through the crease. It creates an easy dimension in the eye, which makes the crisp black upper and inner water line liners even more striking. The red lip Monae’s makeup artist did is also flawless!
I think it’s worth mentioning that none of these looks even come close to having:
- The ‘Instagram eyebrow’
- The outrageous and over-the-top eyeliners and shadows
- The exclamation point of highlight
- Aggressive pounded-in foundation
- Or any of the other overly abused and misused techniques
In the real world, makeup is done differently than on Instagram and YouTube. Those interested in working in the real world as a professional makeup artist would be right to keep at least part of their focus there. These 5 Oscars looks all have many things in common: amazing technique, perfect foundation matching (invisible skin), powerful focus, and a true command of makeup artistry.
One will learn far more about mastery makeup artistry by following these makeup artists, and the other artists who created stunning looks for the stars at the 2020 Oscars.