Guillermo del Toro won the best director award at the Oscars on Sunday night for his work on the fantasy film The Shape of Water, which one the Best Picture Oscar.

Guillermo Del Toro Oscar Speech

The 53-year-old Mexican filmmaker, a first-time Oscar winner, delivered a short but moving speech.

During his speech, del Toro praised Hollywood for creating an environment that welcomed immigrants such as himself.

“In the last 25 years, I’ve been living in a country all of our own. The greatest thing our industry does is to erase lines in the sand. We should continue to do that,” he said.

del Toro also thanked distributor Fox Searchlight for listening to his “mad pitch” for a fairytale about a mute janitor who falls in love with a fish-man and thought it was “a sure bet.”

Del Toro beat out Jordan Peele (Get Out), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) to win the Academy Award, a win that comes after several prizes he has won this award season, including the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and BAFTA.

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The Shape of Water, which was nominated for 13 Oscars, took home the Academy Award for Best Picture as well. The film is set during the Cold War in America and tells the story of a mute woman who works as a janitor in a science laboratory and develops a romance with a fish-man hybrid being experimented on in the lab.

Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer — all nominated for acting — and Michael Shannon all star in the film, which was written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor. 

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway presented the Best Picture award — just as they did last year — presumably to give them another opportunity to hand out the top prize of the night without the embarrassment of a mix-up over the true winner. In 2017, the pair erroneously announced La La Land as the winner, when Moonlight had actually taken Best Picture.

Del Toro opened the envelope to ensure his film had actually won and then smiled and held it up.


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