Jack Pierce Hollywood Filmograph Award for 'Best Makeup' The Mummy.

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Jack Pierce Hollywood Filmograph Award for 'Best Makeup' The Mummy.
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127. Jack Pierce Hollywood Filmograph Award for "Best Makeup" The Mummy.(1933) Vintage original award trophy for Best Makeup presented by Boris Karloff to Jack Pierce for his work on The Mummy on behalf of Hollywood Filmograph Magazine. The 13.5 x 14.25 in. trophy is constructed of 2-piece cast metal of art deco-style base and figural angel holding a laurel with both pieces bolted together internally. Engraved on the front plate is, "Hollywood Filmograph, 1932 Makeup Trophy, Jack Pierce, Universal, The Mummy'". The interior of the award retains the foundry mark for "Dodge Trophy & Awards, of Los Angeles", the same company that manufactured the Academy Award trophies from 1931 to 1983. Jack Pierce was awarded this trophy on January 14, 1933 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, in the Blossom Room. Handed to him directly by his most significant subject, Boris Karloff, who wore Pierce's iconic makeups not only as "The Mummy", but also as "Frankenstein's Monster".

Like many Hollywood hopefuls, Jack Pierce entered the industry in his youth (30s) and like many seeking a way into the early days of moviemaking, Pierce tried his hand at everything he could including cinema manager, stuntman, actor, even assistant director. Too short in stature to make a run at matinee idol, Pierce used the expertise he'd acquired in makeup to aide other actors in their transformations. From the beginning, Pierce's creative approach to extreme makeup brought him accolades and brought him to the attention of then Universal Pictures head, Carl Laemmle, who recognized Pierce's special talents. Soon after, the death of makeup legend Lon Chaney created a space for Pierce to fill in the realm of extreme transformative makeups. What followed were industry innovations and history-making fearsome faces that endure in our culture's collective consciousness to today. The names "Frankenstein's Monster", "Dracula", "The Wolf Man" and "The Mummy", to name just a few, immediately elicit images of Pierce's creations.
Pierce received this Filmograph Award at a critical time for all makeup artists. Not only did this award bring attention to the craft, but it bolstered the struggle by makeup artists to establish their own union. Hollywood Filmograph Magazine covered their own event and reported in their pages:

"Karloff did himself proud when he presented the Hollywood Filmograph 1932 Makeup Trophy at the Hollywood Roosevelt Blossom Room last Saturday evening - Here we see Karloff and Jack Pierce individually admiring the trophy, Mr. and Mrs. Karloff, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Pierce and Henry Burns congratulating the victor all pictured during the great event - It is doubtful if the Hollywood Roosevelt Blossom Room ever offered its visitors a more honest-to-goodness treat than they did last Saturday evening when Harry Burns staged the presentation of the Hollywood Filmograph 1932 Makeup trophy affair directly after Harold Grayson and his celebrated orchestra had entertained the crowd with as fine a broadcast and show as they have had the pleasure of witnessing and enjoying. In a few but well spoken words Harry Burns told the purpose of the event and called Jack Pierce to the stage and then asked Karloff (The Uncanny) to come up and make the award and the Universal star did himself proud, for he not only gave Jack Pierce the trophy but a tribute that no other makeup man has ever been given. In part he said: I want to publicly acknowledge to you, Jack Pierce, the deep debt of gratitude I owe, for were it not for your wonderful makeups, the success I had in The Dark House', Frankenstein' and The Mummy' would have been impossible.'"

Of The Mummy makeup, Pierce has been quoted as saying; "Wrapping Karloff...was the hardest job I've faced during twenty years in the motion picture business. Cooking the cloth gave it the appearance of cloth that had rotted under the earth, but it had become so fragile that it sometimes fell apart in my hands." In the lab, once Karloff was mostly wrapped in cloth, a layer of liquid grease paint, neutral in color, was used for the base. Next, a mixture of facial beauty clay and fuller's earth were packed into that base, the wrapping, and hair to create an earthen dirty matting. Final touches were performed on the sound stage where Pierce completed wrapping Karloff's legs and finally sealed the actor's eyes closed with rice paper, leaving a crease in the center of the paper to approximate mummified, sealed eyes. The entire makeup was detailed and shadowed with earth tones to achieve a depth and appearance of a desiccated, resting corpse.

Pierce regarded this Filmograph award as his "Oscar" and actually referred to it as such in some interviews. In fact, no Academy Award was presented to a makeup artist until an Honorary Oscar was given to William Tuttle in 1964. This Filmograph award is possibly the only formal award Pierce ever received in his lifetime. By the late 1930s, the industry he had innovated began to overlook him and his classical techniques until finally, he was considered "too slow" and dismissed from Universal and marginalized in general. Pierce was largely forgotten until the late 1950s, when he was rediscovered, primarily through the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine, and celebrated by a legion of boys and girls who would go on to become some of the greatest filmmakers of modern times.

This historical award trophy exhibits only minor age, handling and retains its original patina. A true holy grail of Universal horror history. In vintage fine condition. $80,000 - $120,000