Guillermo del Toro is reveling Monday in a successful Oscar night, with his fantasy-romance “The Shape of Water” taking the prize for best picture while he was named best director en route to a four-win evening.
Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman, meanwhile, completed awards-season sweeps Sunday night by taking home the prizes for best actress and actor.
In a ceremony that went largely as predicted, McDormand’s win for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Oldman’s for “Darkest Hour” were complemented by supporting wins for Allison Janney for “I, Tonya” and Sam Rockwell, also for “Three Billboards.”
“The Shape of Water,” a fantastical romance between an amphibious creature and a mute woman, was the top nominee heading into the Dolby Theatre ceremony with 13 nods. In addition to best picture, it won best director for del Toro, best original score for Alexandre Desplat and production design for Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau.
“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,” he said. “I was a kid, with movies, growing up in Mexico I thought this would never happen. It happens. I want to tell you, everyone that is dreaming up a parable, of using fantasy to tell the stories about things that are real in the world today, you can do it. This is a door. Kick it open and come in.”
McDormand’s win for her role as the mother of a murdered daughter who takes on the local police in her push for justice was the second of her career. The 60-year-old actress previously won for her lead role in “Fargo.”
She heaped praise on “Three Billboards” writer-director Martin McDonagh, as well as her family and fellow nominees. But she pushed the evening’s theme of equality for women by calling on all the female Oscar nominees in the theater to stand and be recognized.
“If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me in this room tonight,” she said to rousing applause. When the women were standing, she said, “Look around ladies and gentlemen … because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best. And we’ll tell you all about them.”
The win was a first for the 59-year-old Oldman, who took home the Oscar for his portrayal of British prime minister Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour.”
“I’ve lived in America for the longest time and I am deeply grateful to her for the loves and the friendships I have made and the many, many wonderful gifts it has given me — my home, my livelihood, my family and now Oscar,” he said.
As he accepted his Oscar, he thanked his mother.
“She is 99 years young next birthday and she is watching the ceremony from the comfort of her sofa,” he said. “Thank you for your love and support. Put the kettle on. I’m bringing Oscar home.”
For the 49-year-old Rockwell, the win for his portrayal of a police officer in “Three Billboards” was the first Oscar of his career, on his first nomination.
In an exuberant acceptance speech, he thanked his parents for their love of movies that was passed on to him. He said when he was 9 years old he was called into the principal’s office at school, only to find his father there, telling him they had to go see his grandmother.
“I got in the car and I said, `What’s wrong with grandma?’ and he said, `Nothing. We’re going to the movies,”‘ Rockwell said.
He hailed all of his castmates in “Three Billboards,” and gave high praise to McDonagh.
“Martin McDonagh, I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for you,” he said. “I want to do 10 other movies with you.”
The win for Janney, 58, for her role as figure skater Tonya Harding’s abusive mother was also a career first.
“I did it all by myself,” she joked as she took the stage to accept the honor. “Ok, nothing further from the truth.”
She also hailed her cast and gave praise to her friend, screenwriter Steven Rogers, who has said he wrote the role of Harding’s mother with Janney in mind.
“Steven Rogers, look what you did,” Janney said. “Look what you did. You’re a brilliant writer. Thank you for the gift of LaVona. I did not see this coming, you did. You give new meaning to the word `friend.”‘
Janney also gave a shout-out to Joanne Woodward, who mentored her early in her career, thanking her for “your encouragement and generosity that gave me the confidence to think I could pursue a career in acting.”
She concluded her speech by dedicating the award to her brother, Hal, who suffered from addiction and depression and committed suicide in 2011.
“This is for you, Hal,” she said. “You’re always in my heart.”
All of the acting winners were largely expected, since all had previously won Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild awards.
Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” won the Oscar for best animated film, and it also took the prize for original song for “Remember Me” by Kristen Anderson- Lopez and Robert Lopez, who previously won for “Let It Go” from “Frozen.” Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman” was named best foreign language film.
Jordan Peele won the prize for best original screenplay for his horror/social-commentary cult hit “Get Out.”
“I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because i thought it was impossible, I though it wasn’t going to work,” Peele said. “I thought no one would ever make this movie. But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it. So I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”
James Ivory won for best adapted screenplay for the coming-of-age gay romance “Call Me by Your Name.” It was his first Oscar win. He was previously nominated for directing “The Remains of the Day,” “Howards End” and “A Room with a View.”
Cinematographer Roger Deakins finally took home an Oscar, winning his first statuette for his work on “Blade Runner 2049,” on his 14th career nomination.
“I really love my job,” he said. “I’ve been doing it a long time, you can see.”
Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant added an Oscar to his collection of career accolades, winning the prize for best animated short along with Glen Keane for “Dear Basketball,” a dramatization of Bryant’s retirement announcement.
The trio of Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick won the prize for makeup and hairstyling for their work on “Darkest Hour,” transforming Oldman into British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Mark Bridges won his second career Oscar for costume design for “Phantom Thread.” He previously won in the category for “The Artist.” The Oscar for documentary feature went to “Icarus,” a probing look at doping by Russian athletes.
Director Christopher Nolan’s war epic “Dunkirk” swept the sound categories, with Alex Gibson and Richard King winning for sound editing and Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary Rizzo winning for sound mixing. The film also won for film editing by Lee Smith.
The visual effects Oscar went to the team from “Blade Runner 2049” — John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover and Gerd Nefzer.
The prize for documentary short subject went to Frank Stiefel’s “Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” the story of an artist suffering from depression and mental disorders. For live action short film, the Oscar went to the Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton’s “The Silent Child,” the story of a deaf 4-year-old girl.
During the 3 1/2-hour show, host Jimmy Kimmel didn’t shy away from jokes about the mix-up at last year’s ceremony, when “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as winner of the best picture Oscar, which actually went to “Moonlight.”
Talking to the star-studded audience in his opening monologue, Kimmel joked, “When you hear your name called, don’t get up right away.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took several behind- the-scenes steps to prevent another error, including banning electronic devices backstage. But another measure that was obvious to viewers was the envelopes containing the names of the winners. The envelopes were black with bold gold lettering to ensure the presenters had the right one for the right category.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who were the best-picture presenters during last year’s foul up, came back Sunday night and presented the award to “Shape of Water” — without incident.
—City News Service
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