As a filmmaker, Guillermo del Toro has made a name for himself in the realm of fantastical horror – with movies such as Cronos, The Devil’s Backbone, Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak filling his back catalogue. While his work has generated a loyal fanbase, it’s his most recent project that has finally garnered the attention of the coveted Oscars – with The Shape Of Water having received 13 nominations for 2018.
When Entertainment Weekly asked for his reaction, it was the genre recognition in the Oscar nominations that really took his attention, though – most specifically, Jordan Peele’s Get Out.
“It’s a landmark year. I say this because Jordan Peele and myself, through different alchemies, have taken the genre and each brought a very different, very personal take. I have always been interested in the dark poetics of the genre. And Jordan has evidently been incredibly compelled to tell the story from a different point of view and has elevated it to a parable of social power that I think is unrivalled.”
The writer-director makes an excellent point here, in that by bestowing upon both Get Out and The Shape Of Water Academy recognition, the prestigious film body has highlighted the vast breadth of the horror genre. The fact that these two very different movies, providing two very distinctive viewpoints can both be celebrated within one set of nominations is a landmark moment indeed – not just for the Academy, but for the horror genre in general.
Del Toro went on to explain, in broad terms, why the inclusion of more original horror movies at the Oscars is long overdue.
“This is the year in which the genre takes its place in the stage without being backed by a bestselling book or a literary classic. Normally, when the fantastic is at this stage of the conversation, it is backed up by one of these things. I think it’s beautiful that this has happened.
“I look at the last 10 years, and I look at things like The Babadook, Under The Shadow, Tigers Are Not Afraid, and Let The Right One In. These are movies that are thematically strong, artistically strong. They are new proponents of this alchemy I mentioned. I think the time has come to allow the genre to be part of the conversation.”
Horror fans, and indeed fans of great cinema, will surely join Guillermo del Toro in his celebrations here, while patiently awaiting the outcome of these Oscar nominations for Get Out and The Shape of Water, which will be revealed on March 4th.