From simply making a star look their best on screen to turning an actor into a character, makeup plays a large part in creating that Hollywood magic. It can make or break a movie. Think the beautiful Charlize Theron's transformation in Monster or Mickey Rooney's horribly offensive role in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The three films nominated for this year's Academy Awards for best makeup all tested viewers' ability to suspend disbelief. Here's a look at this year's nominees.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

With the release of Deathly Hallows, the beloved Harry Potter series has come to an end. Despite a rabid fan following and respectable reviews from critics, the series has been snubbed during the Oscars. While nominated in technical categories in the past, Harry Potter has yet to take home any of the top honors. This is the first Academy Awards nomination for Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin and it seems the team may be due for a win. Seriously, look at Lord Voldemort and tell us that you still picture Ralph Fiennes under that makeup.

The Iron Lady

Not all the makeup work nominated for awards this year was so drastic. In The Iron Lady, first time nominees Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland transform Meryl Streep into an elderly Margaret Thatcher. Hollywood has a checkered history with successfully making actors look older (remember J. Edgar?) but Helland and Coulier's work here is quite impressive.

Albert Nobbs

This a first nomination for both Martial Corneville and Lynn Johnston. Matthew W. Mungle, however, has three previous nominations, including a win for 1992's Bram Stroker's Dracula. The team had a difficult task for sure: transforming Glenn Close and Janet McTeer into believable looking males. While the work is impressive, it's difficult to watch Albert Nobbs without thinking of Albert as Close.

Best Makeup can be a difficult category to predict, but the academy generally favors big transformations: previous winners include The Wolfman, Star Trek and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Maybe this is one battle Voldemort will win.

—MATT GERISH

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