Never bet against fish sex. Leading up to the Academy Awards tonight, Guillermo del Toro's romantic creature feature, The Shape of Water, went from festival favorite to one of this year's Best Picture frontrunners. Even as the film's chances evolved over a competitive campaign season, Del Toro, the imaginative filmmaker behind small-scale historical fantasies like Pan's Labyrinth and studio blockbusters like Hellboy, remained the oddsmakers' favorite to take home the Best Director trophy. The consensus was that the Academy voters would embrace the movie as a tender love letter to cinema but with -- you know -- fish sex.
Was the consensus right? With 13 nominations, The Shape of Waterwas the most nominated movie of the year, and it ended up being the most awarded movie of the night, winning four trophies including Best Picture and Best Director. Keep reading for a full break-down of The Shape of Water's big night.
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The Shape of Water wins the Oscar for Best Production Design
The Shape Of Water picked up its first award of the night right after the end of the first hour. After failing to awards for Best Supporting Actor, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing, the movie picked up the award for Best Production Design. Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, and Shane Vieau accepted the award for their work on the film. It was the first Oscar win for all three.
The Shape of Water wins the Oscar for Best Original Score
Towards the end of the show's third hour, The Shape of Water picked up its second award of the night. Though it failed to win the awards for Film Editing, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography, it did win Best Original Score for composer Alexandre Desplat, who has been nominated for this award nine times before and previously won in 2015 for The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Desplat kept his speech focussed on his family, specifically his mother who turned 90 tonight, and his collaborators, particularly director Guillermo del Toro. "Thank you for letting the music be the voice of your characters and convey the beautiful melancholy of love," said Desplat. He went on to thank his wife and his children as well.
The Shape of Water wins the Oscar for Best Director
As most Oscar prognosticators predicted, The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro won the Best Director trophy for his work on this amphibian love story. It was the first win for the Mexican filmmaker, who was previously nominated in 2007 for Best Original Screenplay and Best Foreign Film for his World War II era fable Pan's Labyrinth.
"I am an immigrant," said Guillermo del Toro as he took the stage. Using his speech as a way to talk about how films collapse barriers and borders, he also shouted out his friends and fellow Best Director winners, Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón. Letting his movie fandom shine through, he name-checked actor Jimmy Cagney and director Douglas Sirk as well. The speech itself was as filled with classic cinema references as a del Toro movie!
The Shape of Water wins the Oscar for Best Picture
For the makers of The Shape of Water, it was a fairy tale ending. After Frances McDormand's Best Actress speech, it felt like Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri could end up winning the big prize. (Jordan Peele's victory in the Best Original Screenplay category also suggested Get Out could pull off an upset.) But, at the end of the night, it was clear that the Academy had fallen for the fish-man.
Accepting the award on behalf of the film's producing team, director Guillermo del Toro made another touching, personal speech about his love for cinema. Referencing a conversation he'd had recently with Steven Spielberg, he celebrated the community of filmmakers who work tirelessly to tell their stories, including diverse young directors around the world. "There is a door," he said. "Kick it open and come in."
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