New Straits Times


Del Toro’s fairy-tale romance takes home 4 awards, including best picture

- On his 14th attempt, for

GUILLERMO del Toro’s The Shape of Water on Sunday won top honours at the Oscars, including the coveted best picture statuette, bringing the curtain down on a Hollywood awards season overshadow­ed by scandal over sexual misconduct in showbiz.

Del Toro’s fairy-tale romance led the charge going into the show with 13 nomination­s, and took home best picture, as well as best director and statuettes for production design and best original score.

Martin McDonagh’s dark crime comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri had to settle for best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for Sam Rockwell.

Christophe­r Nolan’s World War 2 thriller Dunkirk also picked up three awards, but in the less glitzy technical categories, while several movies ended the evening with two trophies.

“I am an immigrant,” an emotional del Toro said in collecting his first prize of the night, praising the power of filmmaking to “erase the line in the sand” between people of different countries and cultures.

“I want to dedicate this to every young filmmaker — the youth that is showing us how things are done. Really, they are, in every country in the world.”

“I thought this could never happen. It happens. And, I want to tell you, everyone that is dreaming of using fantasy to tell the stories about the things that are real in the world today — you can do it.”

Hosted for the second straight year by late night funnyman Jimmy Kimmel, the 90th Academy Awards capped a difficult few months during which the industry has declared war on the pervasive culture of sexual impropriet­y unearthed by the downfall of movie mogul and alleged serial sex attacker Harvey Weinstein.

Kimmel set the tone by targeting Weinstein in his opening monologue, describing the disgraced producer’s downfall following dozens of allegation­s of sexual harassment and assault as “long overdue”.

“We can’t let bad behaviour slide any more. The world is watching us. We need to set an example,” he said.

McDormand, a winner throughout the awards season for her scintillat­ing turn as a grieving, rage-filled mother in Three Billboards, took home her second Oscar, 21 years after winning for Fargo.

In a statement about the need for inclusion in the industry, she got all of the female nominees in the room to stand to highlight their work.

“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she said to enthusiast­ic applause.

Her Three Billboards co-star, Rockwell, kicked off the night by claiming best supporting actor for his acclaimed turn as a racist, violent police officer.

Best actor went to runaway favourite Gary Oldman, who sat in make-up for three hours a day to disappear into the role of British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill for Darkest Hour.

Allison Janney won best supporting actress for her turn as the cold, sardonic mother of disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, capping a sparkling awards season which saw her sweep the major prizes.

With the #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns against sexual misconduct and gender inequality dominating the awards circuit, this year’s Oscars gala was seen as an opportunit­y for Tinseltown to support female filmmaking.

Greta Gerwig, only the fifth woman in Oscars history to be nominated for best director — for comedy/drama Lady Bird —however went home empty-handed, despite other nomination­s for best picture and best screenplay.

There was also the first nod in history for a female cinematogr­apher — Rachel Morrison, who shot Dee Rees’s racial drama Mudbound — although the award ended up going to Roger Deakins Runner 2049.

Other winners included Pixar’s Coco for best animated feature and A Fantastic Woman — a love story from Chilean director Sebastian Lelio with a muchpraise­d star turn from transgende­r actress Daniela Vega — in the foreign film category.

And, Jordan Peele won the award for best original screenplay for his highly acclaimed debut film, horror satire Get Out.

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