MOVIE: “The Artist”
Jean Dujardin(Best Actor)
Bérénice Bejo(Best Supporting Actress)
THE CHALLENGE: Choreographer and tap dance coach Fabien Ruiz had to get the leading actors to dance like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in this silent ode to classic cinema. He admits that training Dujardin and Bejo involved a lot of sweating: “Neither of them knew how to dance and, honestly, no one is naturally amazing at tap dancing,” he tells Metro. Eight months before filming began, Bejo was training two hours a day, five days a week. Dujardin started a few months after, doing two hours a day, three to four times a week. They took separate lessons until they were at the same level and good enough to learn the choreographies.
“Mastering the technique was easy. The hard part was making it look effortless and graceful on camera,” says Ruiz. Another challenge: Bejo is petite, while Dujardin is muscular. “Physically they were on opposite ends of the spectrum. Jean worked on his lightness of step and Bérénice focused on grounding her power.” The result grounds this fine romance.
MOVIE: The Iron Lady
Meryl Streep(Best Actress)
THE CHALLENGE: When Margaret Thatcher, the onetime Prime Minister of Great Britain, decided to throw herself into politics she consulted a vocal coach to correct her ‘screeching’ pitch. Naturally, Streep did the same, seeking out top voice coach Jill McCullough. Together they worked on her vocal stamina, which according to Streep came from a place difficult to locate, “somewhere below and behind her diaphragm”. It worked: She’s now the frontrunner for the Academy Award.
MOVIE: “My Week with Marilyn”
Michelle Williams(Best Actress)
THE CHALLENGE: Naturally petite Williams admitted to Vogue magazine that most of the weight she gained to embody Monroe didn’t enhance her lower body but instead went straight to her face, forcing her to pad her hips in order to create a more voluptuous figure. To help her re-enact Monroe’s iconic wiggle, a crucial characteristic both when she walked and danced, she worked with movement coach Jane Gibson of theater company Cheek by Jowl.
MOVIE: “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Rooney Mara(Best Actress)
THE CHALLENGE: To get under the skin of Steig Larsson’s slim and tough heroine, Lisbeth Salander, Mara chopped off her hair into jagged bangs, shaved her eyebrows, and got her lip, brow, nose, ears and nipple pierced. To mimic Salander’s edgy attitude and boyish stance she took up kick boxing, skate boarding and learnt how to ride a motorcycle. The dragon tattoo however, was not a permanent etching. It had to be applied daily, after hours in the make-up chair.
MOVIE: “The Help”
Jessica Chastain (Best Supporting Actress)
THE CHALLENGE: Her role as housewife Celia Foote required Chastain to gain 15 pounds worth of curve overspill. She revealed that binging on soy ice cream helped soften up her figure: “Soy helps you become curvy because it has estrogen in it. I’d microwave it and drink it straight from the carton.” She lost it thanks to her regular vegan diet and yoga.
Physically, he didn’t need to change much but we’re adding him anyway. After all, the man did manage to make a cane look cool on the red carpet.