'The Shape of Water' bags best picture Oscar; Guillermo del Toro best director
Press Trust of India, LOS ANGELES, Mar 5 2018, 11:56 IST
Gary Oldman, Guillermo del Toro, Frances McDormand after winning Oscars. Reuters photos
Guillermo del Toro today won the Academy Award for the Best Director for his visually-stunning inter-species romance "The Shape of Water", a fitting reward for his life-long obsession with monsters and creatures.
Having already won at the Golden Globes, DGA, The Critics Choice and the Bafta Awards, the Mexican director was a clear front-runner in the race that had reputed names such as Christopher Nolan ("Dunkirk"), Jordan Peele ("Get Out"), Greta Gerwig ("Lady Bird") and Paul Thomas Anderson for "Phantom Thread".
Del Toro's film had entered the race with maximum 13 nominations and managed to bag four including the Best Picture, the Best Original Score and Production Design.
This is the fourth time a Mexican has taken home the prize in the last five years, after Alfonso Cuaron won in 2014 for "Gravity" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu in 2015 and 2016 for "The Birdman" and "The Revenant", respectively.
Inarritu, Cuaron and del Toro are best friends and often call themselves "Three Amigos" and the director, 53, name dropped them in his acceptance speech.
"I am an immigrant like Alfonso and Alejandro, my compadres. Like Gael (Garcia Bernal), like Salma (Hayek) and like many, many of you. And in the last 25 years, I've been living in a country all of our own. Part of it is here, part of it is in Europe, part of it is everywhere.
"Because I think that the greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper," del Toro said.
Last year's Best Actress winner Emma Stone presented the Best Director trophy to del Toro.
Set against the backdrop of Cold War, "The Shape of Water" features Sally Hawkins in one of her strongest roles and del Toro's favourite Doug Jones as the humanoid-amphibian creature.
The film depicts the unsaid bond between a mute cleaning lady at a government lab and the sea creature, who has been captured from Amazon and kept for experiments in the lab.
Del Toro's fascination with monsters since childhood is well-documented. When he was 10, he made short horror films with his family playing the victims.
In a short film that he made when he was young, the story revolved around a "serial killer potato" that kills his parents but is eventually run over by a car.
The director's varied filmography, both in Spanish and English, has often reflected on the dark side, illuminating characters that are often derided and looked down upon.
Monsters, creatures and vampires have always found a special place in his films such as "The Devil's Backbone", Oscar-nominated "Pan's Labyrinth", "Blade II", "Hellboy" and "Pacific Rim".
'The Shape of Water' wins Oscar for Best Picture
Guillermo del Toro's inter-species fantasy drama "The Shape of Water" today won the Best Picture Oscar.
The film also helped del Toro win his maiden Oscar in the directing category.
The lyrical drama about a mute cleaning lady's unique bond with a humanoid amphibian, who is a classified government secret, led the 90th Academy Awards, with 13 nominations.
With Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones in the lead, the movie had received massive critical acclaim for its unique handling by the director, who has credited his "childhood monsters" for setting him free.
The film is being called del Toro's best work after his triple-Oscar winning 2007 film "Pan's Labyrinth".
Set during the Cold War period in 1962's Baltimore, "The Shape of Water" was also recognised in the Best Picture category at the Critics Choice Awards.
The film began a limited release in two theaters in New York City on December 1, 2017, before expanding starting December 8, 2017, and has grossed USD 113 million worldwide.
In February, the estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Zindel initiated a high-profile lawsuit against del Toro and associate producer Daniel Kraus alleging the story "brazenly copies the story, elements, characters, and themes" of his 1969 work "Let Me Hear You Whisper".
The director, however, rejected the claims. The film also features Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer.
Other nominees in the segment were "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri", "Lady Bird", "Get Out", "Dunkirk", "Call Me By Your Name", "Darkest Hour", "The Post" and "Phantom Thread".