Johnny Depp Honored at Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Awards, Likes ‘Being Shocked Beyond Recognition’

The 11th annual Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Awards (MUAHS Awards) returned Saturday — after a 10-year hiatus — recognizing the imagemakers behind 2013’s biggest films and TV shows and honoring The Lone Ranger star Johnny Depp.

The actor — who has been recognized in the past for completely altering his image for films (from Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise to Tonto in 2013’s The Lone Ranger) — was honored with the Distinguished Artisan Award. Depp’s makeup artist, Joel Harlow, presented him with the award.

“This is a great honor, but [while] I was occasionally glancing at the screen, I realized what a ridiculous thing I’ve done. I mean, seriously,” Depp said jokingly to the laughing crowd, upon receiving the award and referring to the short clip played, featuring his past film roles, before he stepped on stage. He added: “Why are they still giving me jobs?”

During his speech, Depp reflected on how he was originally a guitar player and needed money to fulfill his music dreams, so he took the role as terrified teen Glen Lantz in Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street. Through that acting gig, the actor realized he was a fan of makeup.

“He [Craven], who really took a chance on me, hooked me up with a guy named Dave Miller to take a mold of my face. I found, oddly enough, that I liked being encased in all that stuff,” said Depp. “I like being isolated to that degree. So the idea of being shocked beyond recognition, it’s kind of what I want. It’s what I strive for. I think trying something different each time as an actor, with the luxury [of having] amazing makeup artists has made my, whatever you call it, career.”

The award-winning actor went on to recognize his past (and current) makeup artists, with a shout-out to Ve Neill (Pirates of the Caribbean movies), who he called “his girl,” Patty York (Alice in Wonderland), and his longtime friend and collaborator Harlow (The Lone Ranger, Dark Shadows and Into the Woods).

The ceremony, held at Paramount Studios, was hosted by comedian Tom Arnold, with Glee‘s Jane Lynch, Nebraska‘s June Squibb and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa‘s Johnny Knoxville among the evening’s presenters.

Dick Smith — who won an honorary Academy Award in 2012 and an Oscar for Amadeus — was honored with the Make-Up Artists Lifetime Achievement Award. Smith was unable to attend, so presenter Rick Baker accepted on his behalf with a moving, heartfelt speech. Gail Ryan, an Oscar winner for How the Grinch Stole Christmas, received the Hair Stylists Lifetime Achievement Award.

Other winners included Dallas Buyers Club‘s Robin Mathews for best period and/or character makeup, American Hustle‘s Kathrine Gordon and Michelle Johnson for best period and/or character hair styling and Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa‘s Stephen Prouty and Tony Gardner for best special makeup effects.

On the TV side, Breaking Bad‘s Tarra Day and Steve La Porte won for best contemporary makeup and The Walking Dead‘s Greg Nicotero and Jake Garber for best special effects makeup. Behind the Candelabra won two awards with Marie Larkin and Yvette Stone winning for best hairstyling, and Kate Biscoe, Deborah Rutherford and Hiroshi Yada for best makeup in the TV miniseries or movie made for TV categories.

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