‘I am an immigrant’: Guillermo del Toro makes a powerful acceptance speech at Oscars

Darin Graham@DarinJGraham
Monday 05 March 2018 16:30
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The film industry has become mired in sexual misconduct allegations, calls to tackle misrepresentation and gender inequality over the last few months, especially in Hollywood.

So all eyes were on the Academy Awards on Sunday, as the industry gathered for the most highly anticipated cinematic ceremony of the year.

But if there’s one thing that cinema still does well, then that's erasing borders. An important message pointed out by Mexican native Guillermo del Toro, who picked up the award for best director for his film The Shape of Water.

In his acceptance speech, del Toro said he was an immigrant and added:

In the last 25 years I’ve been living in a country all of our own.

Part of it is here, part of it in Europe, part if it everywhere.

Because I think that the greatest thing that our art does and our industry does it to erase the lines in the sand, we should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.

It was a particularly fitting point of view from the director of a film that explores the fear and alienation some feel when dealing with people and place they may not understand.

Fellow nominees in the best director category were Jordan Peele for Get Out, Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird, and Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread.

This is first Oscar. He was previously nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Not in the English Language for Pan’s Labyrinth in 2007.

It was widely understood that del Toro was referring to President Donald Trump's famous plans to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

The US President called for the wall in an announcement during his candidacy in June 2015.

When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're sending people that have lots of problems.

They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.

Mr Trump's administration said it wants $18bn over the next decade for the first phase of the wall. 

If this work goes ahead, more than half of the border with Mexico will have a wall - or similar structure - by 2027.

And in 2017, Mr Trump issued an executive order placing varying levels of restrictions on foreign nationals from eight countries. Those were: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen.


More: Daniel Kaluuya had the best response to a reporter who said Get Out ‘ticks boxes’ at the Oscars

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