With his romantic fantasy, The Shape of Water, Mexican director Guillermo del Toro finally joined his buds Alejandro González Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón as an Oscar winner. The Guadalajara-born filmmaker won the Best Director and Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards, and used his acceptance speech to talk about being an immigrant and the need to erase the lines that separate people.
He elaborated on his thoughts in the interview room where press from all over the world were anxious to talk to him. Del Toro asserted that immigrants and underrepresented groups excel in all areas and always do it with pride about who they are. “I think every time we can demonstrate in any forum, be it sports, science, art, culture, anywhere, what we have to bring to the world discourse, to the world conversation, is extremely important, and it’s extremely important when we do it to remember where we’re from, because it’s honoring your roots, honoring your country.”
Later, a Mexican journalist asked in Spanish about del Toro’s comments regarding young filmmakers “kicking down the door” and following their passions. Having someone to look up to is the key to believing one can achieve greatness, he explained in Spanish: “The role model that one has as a young person is someone in your profession, and what’s beautiful to me is that you can choose your role model. Filmmakers committed to reality or filmmakers committed to unreality, but above all committed to truth.”
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As one of the fiercest defendants of genre cinema as a serious art form, the director also made a case for keeping alive the Latin American tradition of using fables to dissect profound issues. “I believe that fantasy also leads to truth, and many times we don’t think of it as we should. One of the richest things about Latin America is fabulation, the possibility of dreaming worlds, creatures, and parables pertinent for difficult times. I hope that young people that are watching and that work in plastic arts, in literature, in cinema, and that feel that fantasy is a path to truth, can keep going,” he concluded.
Holding his two Oscars, Guillermo del Toro mentioned he is planning to return home to Mexico with his new hardware to visit his mom and dad this week. Family is definitely important for him, so when asked if he had more to say or other people to thank during his speech he replied, “Oh, yes. I have a lot of cousins, man.” Don’t we all.
Unfortunately, and despite our efforts, Remezcla was not called on to ask Guillermo del Toro a question. If we had gotten the chance, we would have asked him about the dismal number of opportunities for Latinos in front and behind the camera and his thoughts on a solution or ways in which the entertainment industry can improve this. We’d love to get his insight.