Top 10 Facial Hair Statements Of 2012

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Avengers: Age of Ultron
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Part of putting together our end of year coverage here at Cinema Blend is recognizing trends that have emerged in film over the past twelve months. And undoubtedly, the movies of 2012 were overflowing with massive moustaches, billowing beards and even some eye-catching eyebrows. The hirsute casts of Lincoln and The Hobbit alone could have filled a three-year calendar for facial hair enthusiasts. So, we've picked some of the boldest facial hair statements on film for a very special top ten list.

#10 Jason Segel, The Five-Year Engagement

A surprising trend in movie makeup of 2012 was the depression beard. Christian Bale sported a wispy one in The Dark Knight Rises. Hugh Jackman donned a really gnarly one for Les Miserables, and Jason Segel's down and out chef grew this monstrosity for laughs in The Five-Year Engagement. Apparently few things convey pain quite as clearly as grossly unkempt facial hair.

#9 Robert Downey Jr., The Avengers

Tony Stark's goatee is a crucial part of Iron Man's iconography, and thankfully Downey pulls it off well. Hell, he pulls it off with serious swagger! The goatee makes Tony look like a modern-day buccaneer, which is fitting since he plays by his own rules, or not at all. Plus it adds to the devilish appeal and sets him even further apart from his greatest film foil, the always clean-shaven Captain America.

#8 Jason Mantzoukas, The Dictator

Sure, it was Sacha Baron Cohen's titular tyrant whose outlandish beard was plastered all over big cities and invaded the Oscars to promote the comedy flop The Dictator. But Mantzoukas didn't need prosthetics to create his hysterical, scene-stealing character or his beautifully bush beard. If you've seen him as the hilariously unhinged and seedy Rafi on The League, you know this look is all Mantzoukas. And paired with the awkwardly combed to the side hairstyle, it's a look that's laughably bad in a good way.

#7 Antonio Banderas, Haywire

In Steven Soderbergh's genre-skewering espionage thriller, Banderas is almost unrecognizable behind his thick salt and pepper beard. And this made his duplicitous baddie Rodrigo all the more despicable. But just when it looks like he may have escaped the powerful clutches of Gina Carano's revenge-seeking secret agent Mallory Kane, he surfaces with a new look that reminds us how young and spry Rodrigo is….not that it matters at this point.

#6 Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Few beards are as iconic as that of our 16th president. In fact, this chin beard statement is so intensely tied to Lincoln that it is virtually impossible for most modern men to make this look work. Of course, Daniel Day-Lewis, the sometimes cobbler and film star, is not most men. I mean, if anyone can pull off eccentric facial hair, it's the guy who played Bill the Butcher of Gangs of New York and Daniel Plainview of There Will Be Blood.

#5 Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Anna Karenina

Sexy Hipster Cherub. This phrase is how I've come to describe Taylor-Johnson's look in Joe Wright's sumptuous adaptation of Anna Karenina. I know this combination sounds like it should be revolting. But look at him! The alabaster skin with rosy pink cheeks and soft pink lips just below a feathery blond mustache that matches his halo of wavy locks, he is the sexy hipster cherub. It shouldn't work, but it does, so much so that I'm willing to forget Savages and Taylor-Johnson's ratty white boy dreadlocks.

#4 Lily Collins, Mirror Mirror

You might have thought fabulous facial hair is solely a man's game, but this pale princess proves that's not the case with her big, bold and beautiful eyebrows. For decades now movies have favored thin and perniciously plucked brow lines, but Collins kicks it old school with her defiantly large brows. And they are gorgeous. Not only has her look spurred some women to stop plucking, and start penciling in darker brows, but also it has caused many men to crush hard on this English ingénue.

#3 Wes Bentley, The Hunger Games

Probably the most WTF look of 2012 came out of the socially stratified world of Panem, where the poor are scraping by in dingy and depressed villages, while the rich live in a protected city where their main concern is keeping up with the latest fashions. Based on an incredibly popular YA novel, the movie had a lot of ground to cover, and quickly. So the costume designs by Judianna Makovsky proved crucial. But while we gagged on the eleganza of Effie Trinket's regalia, it was Head Gamemaker Seneca Crane's meticulously groomed and swirling facial hair that showed how pervasive the superficial is in the capitol.

#2 Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

There's plenty to marvel at in Quentin Tarantino's latest, from its buckets or gore to its wild energy and even wilder performances. Waltz is mesmerizing as Dr. King Schultz, dentist-cum-bountyhunter, and this beard and mustache combo above—with its gradient from brown to grey—proves a key part of his performance. Punctuating his fantastic facial hair by wearing grey suits and a matching and luxurious fur coat, the good doctor's got a real flare for the dramatic. He strokes his moustache throughout the film in a way that is sure to urge many men to give up their razor. In the end, it's such an enviable combo that even his enemy declares it "excellent" while cursing him in the same breath.

#1 Stephen Hunter, The Hobbit

Peter Jackson knew he had a tricky task ahead of him in making 13 different dwarves distinctive to audiences for the first part of his Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey. So he tasked makeup and hair designer Peter King and costume designer Ann Maskey with coming up with a trademark look for each of the epic's central ensemble. Inspired by Tolkein's fantastical world, they took facial hair to new lengths with a panoply of incredible wigs and applique beards and mustaches. But of all the furry-faced dwarves of The Hobbit, Bombur's the one whose look is the most striking. This is a magnificent moustache bounds from his cheeks and down his chest into the manliest braid that's ever been made!

Kristy Puchko

Staff writer at CinemaBlend.