Kazu Hiro

Kazu Hiro (born May 26, 1969), formerly known as Kazuhiro Tsuji (辻 一弘), is a Japanese-born American special make-up effects artist and visual artist.[1] He won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling for the biographical films Darkest Hour (2017) and Bombshell (2019) after earning nominations for the comedies Click (2006) and Norbit (2007).[2][3][4]

Kazu Hiro
Kazuhiro Tsuji

(1969-05-26) May 26, 1969 (age 50)
Occupationportrait sculptor, Special make-up effects artist
Years active1988–present

Life and careerEdit

Kazu Hiro grew up in Kyoto, where he spent much of his time alone engaging in art projects.[1] Kazu Hiro came across an issue of Fangoria which featured Dick Smith and his work turning Hal Holbrook into Abraham Lincoln for the 1976 miniseries Lincoln.[1] This led to Kazu Hiro's own experiments with special make-up effects, photos of which he began sending to Dick Smith after discovering his P.O. box in the back of a magazine.[1] The two would eventually meet in person when Smith traveled to Japan to work on Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Sweet Home.[5] Smith invited Kazu Hiro to work on the film with him and this began his film career.[5]

While working on Sweet Home, Kazu Hiro met fellow artist Eddie Yang. Soon Yang was in America working for Rick Baker, a protege of Dick Smith.[1] Yang helped Kazu Hiro come to America and get work with Baker on Men in Black.[1] Continuing his work with Baker, Kazu Hiro worked on many projects including Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas for which he won a BAFTA.[1]

Kazu Hiro crafted the silicone model of Brad Pitt's head used to artificially age him via CGI for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008.[1] In 2012, Kazu Hiro created the prosthetics which turned Joseph Gordon-Levitt into a young Bruce Willis for Looper.[6]

After his work on Looper, Kazu Hiro decided to leave the film business[1] and focus on sculpture,[7] crafting giant busts of people such as Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, Abraham Lincoln, and his mentor Dick Smith.[1]

For the 2017 film Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman talked Kazu Hiro out of retirement to create the Winston Churchill prosthetics.[1] Oldman had been considered for the role of General Thade in Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes (the role went to his Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead co-star, Tim Roth)[1] and Kazu Hiro's work at that time had impressed Oldman enough that for him, Kazu Hiro was the only man to turn him into Churchill. For this work, Kazu Hiro won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.[8]

He won the award again in 2020 for his work in the 2019 film Bombshell, where he made prosthetics for Charlize Theron as news anchor Megyn Kelly.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

In March 2019, Kazu Hiro obtained United States citizenship, changing his name from Kazuhiro Tsuji.[10][11]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Jones, Nate (December 1, 2017). "How Gary Oldman Lured a Makeup Magician Back for One More Job". Vulture.com. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  2. ^ "Click - Academy Awards". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  3. ^ Ryder, Caroline (February 12, 2008). "'Norbit' Achievement in Makeup Oscar nominee". Variety. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  4. ^ "Darkest Hour". Oscar.go.com. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "The amazing story of Hollywood Make-up artist Kazuhiro Tsuji". Spoon & Tamago. June 14, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Whipp, Glenn (August 31, 2012). "'Looper': Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Rian Johnson are a tight team". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Fulton, Wil (January 20, 2015). "These Massive Sculptures Of Lincoln, Warhol And Dali Are Hyper-Realistic". Thrillist. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  8. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (September 5, 2017). "How Gary Oldman Was Finally Convinced to Play Winston Churchill". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  9. ^ Minutaglio, Rose (January 16, 2020). "Charlize Theron's Unrecognizable Bombshell Transformation Is All Thanks to Prosthetist Kazu Hiro". Elle. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  10. ^ "A research collaboration with artist Kazu Hiro: Using art and science to find the unique, expressive beauty that matures inside every person with passing years" (Press release). Kao Corporation. May 14, 2019. Retrieved February 6, 2020.
  11. ^ Saruwatari, Yuki (January 14, 2020). カズ・ヒロ氏、またもやオスカー候補入り。国籍と名前を変えた心境を聞く. Yahoo! News (in Japanese). Retrieved February 6, 2020.

External linksEdit