At the Golden Globes last night, Guillermo del Toro, who took home the Best Director trophy for The Shape of Water, refused to rush off stage when the music came on, cueing him to wrap up his acceptance speech. “Lower the music guys. Come on. It’s taken 25 years. Give me a minute,” the Mexican director said amid laughs and hoots from the audience. The Pan’s Labyrinth director got his wish when the event’s producers silenced the shove off music so he could proceed with a moving speech that brought cast members, including Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer, to tears.
“Since childhood, I’ve been faithful to monsters. I have been saved and absolved by them, because monsters, I believe, are patron saints of our blissful imperfection, and they allow and embody the possibility of failing,” the 53-year-old moviemaker said. “For 25 years, I have handcrafted very strange little tales made of motion, color, light and shadow…and in three precise instances, these strange stories, these fables, have saved my life. Once with Devil’s Backbone, once with Pan’s Labyrinth and now with Shape of Water.”
In The Shape of Water, del Toro shows the special bond that forms between an aquatic monster and a deft mute girl who cleans the government facility where the mysterious creature is housed. The auteur, whose films often champion the disenfranchised and put complex women front and center, told Variety on Jan. 4: “We told a story not through the agents and the scientists, but through the janitors, the cleaning women who had to wipe the toilets, emptying the trash bins, and from that moment, you are already taking a political stance.”
During his poignant speech, del Toro joked that Hollywood directors trade three years of their lives “for one entry on IMDb,” but emphasized: “These things are biography — and they are life.”