HOLLYWOOD (NEWS10) – A Capital Region native is an Academy Awards winner and voter.
John Caglione, Jr. won an Oscar for makeup in the movie Dick Tracy. He was also nominated for his work on Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Caglione has also won BAFTA and Emmy awards.
Caglione is now on the board and votes.
Prior to his work as a make-up artist, the Troy High School graduate said he almost became a dentist. He worked in a dental lab in high school.
“You are mixing plaster and pouring impressions of teeth, and I just thought for a while that’s what I would do,” he said via Skype. “I would be a dental technician and someday have my own dental lab in Albany somewhere and maybe as a hobby I would still be making monster masks in my basement.”
But he reached out to his idol, Dick Smith, who did make-up for The Exorcist and The Godfather movies. Smith watched Caglione’s work improve and then recommended him for an apprenticeship job at NBC.
“I mean, I was doing high school plays at Troy High School, and the next year, I was graduated, I was on Saturday Night Live,” he said. “It was trial by fire; hit the ground running.”
Caglione put the tops on the cone heads and the soul patch on the Blues Brothers.
“It was great,” Caglione said. “It was my ‘College of Makeup Knowledge’ I call it.”
He eventually became a makeup artist on Dick Tracy. He said he needed to collect himself when getting ready to meet Al Pacino.
“Al Pacino – the first thing he says is, ‘Calm Down. Take it easy, take it easy,’” Caglione recalled. “Just hyperventilating; very star struck, and that led to a 20-year career with Al.”
Over the years, Caglione has worked on numerous projects with many stars. He said the amazing thing is that he does the makeup, but the actors run with it.
“Like Al Pacino in Dick Tracy – I mean you can’t wait for him to get back on screen,” he said.
Caglione said he’s going to be watching the Oscars Sunday night. He said he votes in all the categories but will be rooting for his picks.
Caglione will be starting another project with Pacino in April and begins shooting an HBO pilot in March.
The 87th annual Academy Awards air at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on NEWS10 ABC.