HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 09: Penélope Cruz attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)
While we screened the Oscars at home last night eagerly waiting to see if Parasite would sweep the awards (and did it ever), we were almost equally excited to scroll through our Instagram feeds and watch all the beauty prep go down ahead of the biggest event in Hollywood. But the glam doesn’t stop once the stars reach the end of the red carpet, as presenters and performers get touched up before and after they step out on stage.
We caught up with the head makeup artist of the 92nd Academy Awards, Bruce Grayson, who shared all the secrets to backstage glam. While Grayson has done his fair share of awards shows as an industry veteran, the makeup artist says there was a surprising twist to this ceremony. “This might have been the first Oscars in some time that I didn’t have to touch up teary eyes,” Grayson tells Refinery29. “I thought for a second Bong Joon-Ho might get misty-eyed during his acceptance speech for Best Director for Parasite, but he held it together.”
Touch-ups were still in order, even if the tears weren’t flowing. When it came to fixing up makeup, Grayson relied on Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Concealer and Maybelline Lash Sensational Waterproof Mascara. However, the real star product was Boscia Blotting Linens. “They’re the best way to take down the shine and keep the glow,” he says.
The blotting papers came in handy to touch up celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Olivia Colman, and Sandra Oh, who all stopped to get refreshed before heading out on stage. It was then that Oh had one of Grayson’s favorite sweet backstage moments, when she spotted veteran actress Sigourney Weaver. “It’s always that beautiful moment of friendship between actors and colleagues,” Grayson says. “Their mutual love of each other’s work is so nice to see. They are excited to see and support their friends every year.”
Another familiar face who fell into Grayson’s hands was presenter Rami Malek, who almost walked away with a bottle of Clear Eyes. “I believe he was just a bit nervous and felt he might need not one, but a double dose [of eye drops], while I touched him up before presenting the Oscar for Best Actress,” Grayson says.
While there weren’t any significant mishaps, there were a few non-beauty fixes to be made, like dry contact lenses, water spills, or undone seams. And when it came to beauty, it was essential for the team to keep malfunctions in mind throughout the entire show, especially as they worked on the 30 dancers for Janelle Monae’s opening number. “This was the biggest performance show we’ve ever had in Oscar history,” Grayson tells us. “It was more work than I’ve ever done at the Oscars.” For someone who’s held the gig for nearly two decades, that’s really saying something.
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