Guillermo del Toro
Andrea Raffin /

Guillermo del Toro claimed his first Golden Globe victory at Sunday night’s ceremony, taking the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s best director honor over big hitters Martin McDonagh (‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing,’ ‘Missouri’), Christopher Nolan (‘Dunkirk’), Ridley Scott (‘All the Money in the World’), and Steven Spielberg (‘The Post’).

As part of his acceptance speech, del Toro spoke about his films ‘The Devil’s Backbone,’ ‘Pan’s Labyrinth,’ and ‘The Shape of Water,’ saying:

“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. For 25 years I have handcrafted very strange little tales, made of motion, color, life, and shadow. And in many of these instances — in three precise instances — these strange stories, these fables have saved my life.”

Revered by critics as one of the director’s best films, as well as one of the best of 2017, ‘The Shape of Water’ follows a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) who forms a romantic bond with a mysterious, humanoid sea creature (Doug Jones) against the backdrop of Cold War-era Baltimore. The film’s strong performances, production design, and sweeping score by Alexandre Desplat have earned praise on the Oscar trail as well, all coming together under the supervision of del Toro’s visionary command.

In a recent interview, del Toro spoke about his approach to the ambitious project, saying:

“The thing that I did very different from ever before is that I finally exhaled. I finally was able to consider films lyrically. I wanted you to come out of the [theater] humming the movie. Not the music of the movie. Humming the movie.”

His approach seems to have worked, as ‘The Shape of Water’ has become a major player in the awards circuit, scoring seven total Golden Globe nominations, a Writers Guild of America nod, a spot among the Critics Choice Awards’ best film nominees, and the top prize at the Venice Film Festival.

del Toro explained why the movie resonates with people:

“The movie is about listening and looking and about love because that’s what is really urgent that we say: Do not fear the other, do not believe the ideologies they’re feeding you. Do not reduce a person to one word, see the other person, listen. Because the antidote to hatred is understanding.”

You can watch his entire acceptance speech below and don’t miss ‘The Shape of Water’ in theaters now!