Mexican director Guillermo del Toro went into the 90th annual Academy Awards on March 4 with the most nominations of the evening — and he wasn’t disappointed.
Del Toro took home the Best Director and Best Picture statuettes for the critically acclaimed film The Shape of Water. Following his big wins, the director spoke to the press in English and Spanish about the importance of showing what Mexicans can bring to the table.
“I think every time we can demonstrate in any form — be it sport, science, art, culture, anywhere — what we have to bring to the world discourse, to the world conversation, it is extremely important,” Del Toro, with both Oscars in hand, told reporters of stopping the scapegoating of Mexico. “And it is extremely important when we do it, to remember where we’re from. Because it’s honoring your roots, honoring your country.”
The director, 53, then revealed he was going back home to Mexico following the ceremony to see his parents “with these two babies,” gesturing his statuettes.
Del Toro’s victory is the fourth Best Director win by a Mexican director in the last five years. Del Toro’s “compadres” — who he referenced during his onstage Oscars speech — Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity, 2014) and Alejandro Iñárritu (Birdman, 2015; The Revenant; 2016) have also won. The trio runs a production company together called Cha Cha Cha Films.
Del Toro also brought up his background during his Best Director acceptance speech. “I am an immigrant … The greatest thing our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand,” he said. “When the world tells us to make them deeper.”