Hav­ing just re­ceived a pres­ti­gious ac­co­lade, The Shape of Wa­ter is de­fy­ing plenty of odds to be­come a firm favourite this awards sea­son

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY -

Fan­tasy ro­mance The Shape of Wa­ter has added an­other key prize in its awards sea­son run with Guillermo del Toro’s win at the Di­rec­tors Guild Awards last week­end.

The Shape of Wa­ter, about a mute woman who falls in love with an un­der­wa­ter crea­ture, has emerged as the awards sea­son front run­ner with a Pro­duc­ers Guild Award and a lead­ing 13 Academy Award nom­i­na­tions.

Del Toro said his movie is one that is “full of many rea­sons why it shouldn’t work and they are the rea­sons that it works”. He ded­i­cated the hon­our to his mother and fa­ther, who has been ill.

He won out over fel­low di­rec­tors Greta Ger­wig ( Lady Bird), Martin McDon­agh ( Three Bill­boards Out­side Eb­bing, Mis­souri), Christo­pher Nolan ( Dunkirk) and Jor­dan Peele ( Get Out), al­though Peele did win the prize for first-time fea­ture film for his block­buster hor­ror film.

“This whole thing is a very sur­real, con­flict­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. This has been the best year of my life hands down,” Peele says. “At the same time I’ve had to bal­ance that with the knowl­edge that this is not a good year for this coun­try. This is not a good year for many of us.”

Other win­ners Satur­day in­cluded Matthew Heine­man for the doc­u­men­tary City of Ghosts, Jean-Marc Valle for Big Lit­tle Lies, Reed Mo­rano for The Hand­maid’s Tale and Glenn Weiss for di­rect­ing the 89th Academy Awards.

Mo­rano thanked her pro­duc­ers and Hulu for be­ing, “the rare peo­ple who were seek­ing the op­por­tu­nity to work with women in­stead of fear­ing it”.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tion and the on­go­ing cul­tural shift hap­pen­ing in Hol­ly­wood and across the US re­gard­ing sex­ual mis­con­duct was at least an un­der­tone of many of the speeches of the evening, as the top­ics have been through­out awards sea­son.

DGA pres­i­dent Thomas Sch­lamme kicked off the evening ad­dress­ing the mo­ment head on.

He stressed a drive to­ward re­spect­ful and in­clu­sive work places and said that “we must keep our foot firmly on the pedal and not let up” in their “decades long fight” to en­sure the par­tic­i­pa­tion of women and peo­ple of colour in the di­rec­tor’s chair.

“This is not just a fight by women for women,” Sch­lamme says. “They didn’t cre­ate this prob­lem.”

The DGA, which rep­re­sents more than 17,000 en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als, sent its mem­bers a set of guide­lines de­tail­ing pro­ce­dures for han­dling sex­ual ha­rass­ment last week.

The guild also joined the Anita Hill-chaired Com­mis­sion on Sex­ual Ha­rass­ment and Ad­vanc­ing Equal­ity in the Work­place.

Heine­man, who won for City of Ghosts, about a group of ci­ti­zen jour­nal­ists who banded to­gether af­ter ISIS took over their land, took his mo­ment on stage to spot­light those in his doc­u­men­tary.

“In the era of fake news where facts seem to be mal­leable and jour­nal­ism is un­der fire, I think it is im­por­tant to cel­e­brate groups like RBSS (Raqqa Is Be­ing Slaugh­tered Silently) that are coura­geously speak­ing truth to power,” Heine­man said.

The Di­rec­tors Guild also hon­ours di­rect­ing live-ac­tion and scripted pro­gram­ming and even com­mer­cials.

Niki Caro, who di­rected the live-ac­tion Mu­lan, won her first DGA for di­rect­ing an episode of Anne with an E in the chil­dren’s pro­grams cat­e­gory.

All di­rec­tors nom­i­nated in the fea­ture cat­e­gory are given “nom­i­na­tion medal­lions” through­out the cer­e­mony, which in­cludes pre­sen­ta­tions from their cast or col­lab­o­ra­tors and speeches be­fore the fi­nal award is an­nounced.

Sally Hawkins and Oc­tavia Spencer in a scene from The Shape of Wa­ter, which has emerged as the awards sea­son front run­ner.

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