The 2018 Oscars wasn't the first time Guillermo del Toro had been recognized by the Academy for his work, but for the director, that night was "life-changing."
Del Toro — who was previously nominated in 2007 for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay for Pan's Labyrinth — was nominated in 2018 for Best Original Screenplay with Vanessa Taylor for The Shape of Water. He also won Best Director and Best Picture for the romantic fantasy film starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Doug Jones, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Octavia Spencer.
The Shape of Water was the most-nominated film at the 2018 Oscars, with nods for Best Actress for Hawkins, Best Supporting Actor for Jenkins, Best Supporting Actress for Spencer, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design (which it won), Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.
Upon accepting his award for Best Director, del Toro "tried to speak from the heart," he reflects in A.frame's "Behind the Oscars Speech" series.
"It's not about reading names, it's about telling people about your moment that is so life-changing and underlining what is so special about that moment for you," he recalls. "As an immigrant, coming from Guadalajara, Mexico, in the moment that you receive this honor, you feel you were heard, and there is no larger blessing for any human being than to be seen or heard."
There wasn't much time between del Toro's Best Director and Best Picture wins. After briefly checking the envelope presented to him by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty — a cheeky reference to the prior year's big finale — he shared another heartfelt acceptance speech.
"We have to understand that we are one link in a chain that continues," del Toro says. "If we have generosity of spirit, and that ends if we don't. And that it serves no one for the chain to end with you, and it benefits everyone for that chain to continue after you. That dedication and what I tried to do after that night is an extension of that sentiment."
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