Oscars 2018: ‘The Shape of Water’ wins best picture award

Frances McDormand beats Saoirse Ronan to best actress for her ‘Three Billboards’ role

The Shape of Water was the big winner at the 2018 Oscars, with Guillermo del Toro also winning the best director prize. Saoirse Ronan and Daniel Day-Lewis lost out to Frances McDormand and Gary Oldman in the best acting categories. Video: Reuters

 

Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, a fantastic romance involving the relationship between a mute janitor and an aquatic creature, has won best film at the 90th Academy Awards.

“This is a door. Kick it open and come in,” Del Toro advised young film-makers from the stage.

Winning four Oscars, The Shape of Water topped the Oscars chart in a largely predictable ceremony that spread the love in all directions.

Del Toro, who also won best director, becomes the fourth Mexican to win that statuette in the last five years.

Guillermo del Toro with the Best Director Award for ‘The Shape of Water’. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Guillermo del Toro with the Best Director Award for ‘The Shape of Water’. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written and directed by London-Irishman Martin McDonagh, a big winner all awards season, managed just two awards.

In a lovely touch, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, who famously announced the wrong best picture last year, returned to open that final envelope. This time there were no problems.

Frances McDormand, forceful as a bereaved mother in Three Billboards, beat Saoirse Ronan to best actress.

At the close of a powerful speech, McDormand, winning her second Oscar, asked every female nominee in every category to stand in the auditorium. “Look around ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she said. “Don’t talk to us about it at the parties, invite us into your office in a couple days or you can come to ours, whichever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”

Actor Sam Rockwell, winner of the Best Supporting Actor award for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri;’ actor Frances McDormand, winner of the Best Actress Award for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri;’ actor Allison Janney, winner of the Best Supporting Actress award for ‘I, Tonya;’ and actor Gary Oldman, winner of the Best Actor award for ‘Darkest Hour,’ poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Actor Sam Rockwell, winner of the Best Supporting Actor award for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri;’ actor Frances McDormand, winner of the Best Actress Award for ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri;’ actor Allison Janney, winner of the Best Supporting Actress award for ‘I, Tonya;’ and actor Gary Oldman, winner of the Best Actor award for ‘Darkest Hour,’ poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Ronan, looking splendid in Calvin Klein pink, has now racked up three Oscar nominations without a win.

Other Irish nominees also struggled against strong favourites. The Breadwinner, from Kilkenny’s Cartoon Saloon, lost in best animated feature to Pixar’s popular Coco.

Costume designer Consolata Boyle, nominated for Victoria & Abdul, lost to the team behind Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread.

Gary Oldman, the veteran British actor, beat sometime Wicklow man Daniel Day Lewis to the best actor prize for his performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

“I would like to thank my mother who is older than the Oscar,” he said. “She is 99 years young and she is watching this from her sofa. Thanks for the support. Put the kettle on. I am bringing Oscar home.”

Sam Rockwell, winning best supporting actor for Three Billboards, told an anecdote about his dad arriving at school and telling the authorities that his grandma was ill. “When we left the office I asked: ‘What’s wrong with Grandma?’ He said: ‘Nothing, let’s go to the movies.’” He finished by dedicating his award to the late Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Allison Janney, the much-loved star of the West Wing, was an expected winner of best supporting actress for her role as a demented mother in I, Tonya. “I did it all by myself,” she laughed before clarifying: “Nothing further from the truth.”

James Ivory, who made such admired films as Room With a View and Howards End with the late Ismail Merchant, became the oldest Oscar winner ever when, at 89, he took the best adapted screenplay award for the gay romance Call Me By Your Name.

“Whether straight or gay or somewhere in between, we’ve all gone through first love, I hope, mostly intact,” Ivory said.

Jordan Peele won best original screenplay for the hugely imaginative, satirical horror film Get Out. “I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work. I thought no one would ever make this movie,” he said.

The team behind Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird, starring Ronan as a charming rebellious teen, will have been disappointed to go home with nothing.

Jimmy Kimmel, returning as host for a second year running, delivered another sound performance. He began by recommending the Oscar statuette as the ideal date for the year of #MeToo.

“Oscar is the perfect man,” he said. “He keeps his hands to himself and has no penis. We need more of this in Hollywood.”

Moving about a set that transformed itself from a lavish Victorian bordello to Ming the Merciless’s conservatory, the comic was relaxed without ever seeming glib. He dared to mention Harvey Weinstein in his opening paragraph, which showed some chutzpah.

“If we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace … women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at every other place they go,” he said.

This year’s unnecessary, slightly awkward stunt saw Kimmel leading a gang of movie stars across the road to interrupt an advance screening of the upcoming movie Wrinkle in Time. The everyday citizens enjoyed their moment in the sun. But these things always feel a little patronising.

Before McDormand raised the roof, there was surprisingly little reference to #MeToo and #TimesUp from the podium. But the Weinstein scandal, which inspired those campaigns, was addressed in a montage introduced by the actors Annabella Sciorra, Ashley Judd and Salma Hayek. All have spoken about their own experiences of abuse in the industry.

The montage included such professionals as Ava DuVernay, Greta Gerwig, Kumail Nunjiani, Barry Jenkins, Geena Davis and Mira Sorvino. In what could be seen as a gesture of balance towards the red states, Wes Studi later introduced a slightly baffling tribute to the US military.

It was a slick ceremony that, in a season charged by anger and revelation, felt reassuringly old-school.

There were a few references to last year’s chaotic conclusion. “Don’t say La La Land,” Mark Hamill told himself as he opened the envelope for best animated short.

As ever, there were some astounding exclusions from the in memoriam section. Neither Adam West, the original Batman, nor Dorothy Malone, who actually won an Oscar for Written in the Wind, were mentioned in the tribute to those who’d died since the last ceremony. How does this happen?

The full list of winners at the 2018 Academy Awards is ...

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

Best Actor: Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Actress: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Original Screenplay: Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay: Call Me by Your Name

Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Visual Effects: Blade Runner 2049

Best Film Editing: Dunkirk

Best Animated Short: Dear Basketball

Best Live Action Short: The Silent Child

Best Documentary Short: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Best Score: The Shape of Water

Best Song: Remember Me from Coco

Best Production Design: The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography: Blade Runner 2049

Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Darkest Hour

Best Documentary Feature: Icarus

Best Sound Editing: Dunkirk

Best Sound Mixing: Dunkirk