On a night when many predicted an upset, the Oscar for best picture went to the favorite: The Shape of Water.
The romantic fable was conceived by writer-director Guillermo del Toro as a tribute to the monster movies he loved as a child, updated to tell a story about tolerance and compassion that could speak to a contemporary audience. The movie ultimately took home four Oscars, the most of any nominee.
“As a kid enamored of movies growing up in Mexico, I thought it would never happened, but it happened,” said del Toro, in accepting the Best Picture award. He urged other young filmmakers to take inspiration from his win, and “use the power of fantasy to tell stories about things that are real in the world.”
The award was presented by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, who famously announced the wrong Best Picture winner last year, naming La La Land instead of actual winner Moonlight.
Frances McDormand won best actress for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, playing a woman ruthlessly and relentlessly seeking justice for her murdered daughter. She won previously for Fargo at the 1997 Oscars.
She asked women to demand, contractually, that movie sets be more inclusive, and called attention to all the women who’d been nominated.
“I invite all the female nominees to stand with me,” McDormand said. She enlisted the help of fellow nominee Meryl Streep. “Come on Meryl, if you do it, everyone else will.”
Gary Oldman won best actor for his work in Darkest Hour, playing Winston Churchill who rallies the British people in the early days of WWII.
“I would like to salute Winston Churchill who’s been marvelous company on what’s been an incredible journey,” Oldman said.
Guillermo del Toro won best director for his romantic sci-fi able The Shape of Water, about a group of misfits who band together to save an imprisoned creature. It was his first Oscar win.
He said his movie, and the movie industry, work to “erase the lines in the sand. We should continue doing that when the world tells us to make them deeper.”
Diversity and inclusion were the theme on Oscar night. Earlier in the evening Jordan Peele made history by becoming the first African American to win best original screenplay for his horror-comedy Get Out.
Kobe Bryant won for his animated short film and Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell won supporting actor awards.
Janney won best supporting actress for her work in I, Tonya as disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding’s hard-driving mother, LaVona.
“I did it all by myself,” joked Janney, poking fun at the effusive marathon of thank you’s that accompany acceptance speeches.
Sam Rockwell won best supporting actor for his complex work in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as a racist cop who confronts the undercurrents of rage that have guided his behavior. The actor thanked his co-star Frances McDormand, his parents for instilling in him a love of movies, “everyone involved in Three Billboards, and everyone who’s ever looked at a billboard.”
Peele became the first African American to win best original screenplay for his horror/comedy Get Out. Peele thanked “everybody who bought a ticket” and gave them credit for validating his story about the terror of being a black man — best actor nominee Daniel Kaluuya — navigating a white world.
Lower Merion’s Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short film Dear Basketball, based on Bryant’s love letter to the sport penned subsequent to his retirement from the L.A. Lakers.
“As basketball players we’re really supposed to shut up an dribble but I’m glad we’re doing much more than that,” Bryant said, taking a shot at a Fox News personality who had criticized pro players for voicing political views. Bryant collaborated on the short film with former Disney animator Glen Keane and composer John Williams.
Pixar’s Coco won best animated feature and its featured tune, “Remember Me,” won best original song. Screenwriter James Ivory, 89, became the oldest Oscar winner in history for his work adapting Call Me By Your Name for the screen.
The Netflix-financed Icarus won for best documentary feature for its look at the scandalous Russian Olympic doping program.
The Oscar for best foreign language film went to A Fantastic Woman, from Chile, the story of a transgender struggling in the aftermath of the death of a lover.
“We hope Icarus is a wake-up call, yes, about Russia, but more importantly for telling the truth,” said director Bryan Fogel, accepting the award.
Phantom Thread won for best costume design, which makes sense, since it was a movie about costume design. Darkest Hour won for best makeup. Winner Kazuhiro Tsuji built a special bodysuit for star Gary Oldman, transforming him into Churchill in a process that required more than three hours each day.
The technically marvelous Dunkirk won awards for best sound editing and sound mixing. The film also won best editing for the way it blends parallel, chronologically unaligned stories.
The visually stunning Blade Runner 2049 won for best visual effects. Roger Deakins won for his cinematography, his first win after several nominations and a 30-year career.
The Shape of Water won for its imaginative production design, and for best original score.
The Silent Child won best live action short film. Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405 won the award for documentary short subject.