Guillermo del Toro became the final "amigo" to win a directing Oscar, succeeding pals Alfonso Cuarón (who won for Gravity in 2014) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (for Birdman and The Revenant, consecutively, in 2015 and 2016). Del Toro was named as Best Director for The Shape of Water during Sunday night's show.
"I am an immigrant like Alfonso and Alejandro, my compadres." Del Toro began his speech. "Like Gael [Garcia Bernal], like Salma [Hayek] and like many, many of you. And in the last 25 years, I've been living in a country all of our own. Part of it is here, part of it is in Europe, part of it is everywhere. Because I think that the greatest thing our art does and our industry does is to erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper."
"The place I like to live the most is at Fox Searchlight because in 2014, they came to listen to a mad pitch with some drawings and the story and a maquette," he continued. "And they believed that a fairy tale about an amphibian god and mute woman done in the style of Douglas Sirk, and a musical and a thriller was a sure bet."
The Shape of Water earned 13 total Oscar nominations, the most of any film this year, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Supporting Actor (Richard Jenkins) and Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer). The film was also recognized with nods for Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Original Score, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
Del Toro, who was previously Oscar-nominated for Pan's Labyrinth's Original Screenplay, cemented himself as the Best Directing frontrunner when he won the trifecta of the Golden Globe, BAFTA and Directors Guild Award.
His Globe win came following Natalie Portman's now-infamous "all-male nominees" remark directed at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, though del Toro told ET that he "loved" Portman's unscripted introduction, saying, "What this season has told us [is] it's time for everyone to say what they think, so let's do it."
In fact, when he later won Best Picture at the Critics' Choice Awards, he added, "For everyone that has been unequal in working with woman, let me show you who stands here with us and made this movie possible: Sally, Octavia, Vanessa, Nancy...If you don't do that, you don't know what you're missing!"