Known for his work on such monster movies as Hellboy, Pacific Rim and Blade, Del Toro is an acknowledged master of the genre. In The Shape of Water, he continues in the same world, telling the story of a lonely janitor who forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. It was originally conceived with 1960s monster movies in mind, but transformed into something quite different as the deep relationship between its characters evolved.
“Since childhood, I’ve been faithful to monsters,” said Del Toro, calling them “patron saints of imperfection.” Del Toro noted that he has spent 25 years handcrafting “very strange little tales” that ultimately “have saved my life.” He closed by noting, “My monsters thank you.”
Actress Natalie Portman and director Ron Howard presented the award, having the unenviable task of following Oprah Winfrey’s stirring speech for her Cecil B. Demille award. Portman kept the momentum of that moment going when she caustically noted, “And here are the all-male nominees,”
Other nominees in the category included Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; Ridley Scott, All The Money in the World; and Steven Spielberg, The Post.