By Iride Aparicio

HOLLYWOOD, CA –  We all heard them loud and clear on Sunday March 4th, on our television screens. The words emanated from the mouths of  sumptuous-dressed women and tuxedo-wearing men standing on the stage of the Dolby theater in Hollywood, under a silver arch, encrusted with lights simulating diamonds.  Some of the words were delivered in perfect English, others, with  foreign “accents” by the speakers  from around the world. And while physically, those on the stage  looked different from each other, they  had one thing in  common. All were winners, in different categories, and each one held an Oscar® in one hand.

Inside the DOLBY Theater in Hollywood  Photo by: Getty/Image  
Inside the DOLBY Theater in Hollywood  Photo by: Getty/Images

The  90th  Annual Academy Awards Ceremony that we watched this year, had changed.  For the first time in OSCARS® history, The BEST PICTURE AWARD was bestowed to  a “Fantasy-Genre” film,  “The Shape of Water,” a parable, using symbolism to relate many things that are real. Supporting the film were other OSCARS, ® the one for BEST DIRECTOR, that was won by Mexican Director, GUILLERMO DEL TORO. Another for the ORIGINAL SCORE, that was won by composer ALEXANDRE DESPLAT, and the fourth one for PRODUCTION DESIGN won by JEFFREY A. MELVIN, SHANE VIEAU and  PAUL D. AUSTERBERRY.

The Award for ANIMATED FEATURE FILM went to  COCO, a Mexican cartoon kid who won the hearts of the audience exposing his culture. With  their  film LEE UNKRICH, CARLA K. ANDERSON, and ADRIAN MOLINA validated the Mexican traditions. COCO won a second  OSCAR® for its ORIGINAL SONG  “Remember Me” written by composers KRISTEN and ROBERTO LOPES.  

In a memorable moment that night for Afro-American Films, JORDAN PEELE  became the first Afro American to win an OSCAR for ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY for  his auto-biographic in part, “GET OUT”, and in another surprising award The BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE film this year, was won by Chile.  

On its  90th Annual Awards broadcast,  The ACADEMY OF  MOTION PICTURE AND  SIENCE ®  showed its audience a wider scope of the the film industry from around the world, allowing the viewers to get to know those who represent it by listening to their acceptance speeches. Here are some of their views, expressed in their own voices:


“The Shape of Water”    
Director GUILLERMO DEL TORO showing  his two  OSCARS,   Photo Fredere Brown/AFP/Getty images.
Director GUILLERMO DEL TORO showing  his two  OSCARS,   Photo Fredere Brown/AFP/Getty images.

“I was a kid enamored with movies, and growing up in Mexico I thought this could never happen.” Said Director GUILLERMO DEL TORO holding two OSCARS(r) one in each hand.  He identified himself as an immigrant who came to the United States to learn to make movies. He explained why. “The greatest thing our art does, and our industry does is erase lines. We should continue to do that, when the world tells us to make them deeper. We need to bring conversation into a world of discord”

Responding to a question asking for advice for Hispanic filmaakers in his backstage interview with the Hispanic press, he advised new filmmakers to create realistic or unrealistic films but  always tell the truth. And to remember that fantasy, leads to truth. To never forget their roots and to  re-affirm their culture. To open doors, not close them, And at the end, he encouraged them to demonstrate what they can bring to the world, because he envisions his winning as the Key, that in the future, will open opportunities to coming generations of Hispanics to Hollywood.


FRANCES McDORMAN  “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

When in his acceptance speech,  British, actress McDORMAND said that she had  things to say, she meant it, and she may have been the voice  of all the silent women in the room when she told them:  “If I may be so honored to have every female nominee stand with me in the room, the actors, the directors, the writers." (Lots  of women stood up) She continued, this time as if addressing the decision-makers in Hollywood. “Ok, look around everybody, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed.”



Photo by Frazer Harrison/ Getty Images

In a backstage interview after winning an Oscar for Best Actor for his role as Winston Churchill in the movie “The Darkest Hour” OLDMAN left us thinking when he said  “This movie seems to be a lot about facing up to the great fears and great obstacles that we all have, I think we can all relate to it. In the l940’s we see in the movie that he (Churchill, the character he represented) sends 4,000 men to their death to save 3oo,o00. These are decisions, though in war. The types of decisions that you have to make in war". And as if pondering on his role he added: "How you then sleep soundly in your bed on the evening of the day when you sent 4,000 innocent men to their dead." When asked by the press what it means for him to win an Oscar he said: "I think for this role, it's got a sort of special-- it feels like it has a special singnificance." and he explained that the reason is that he won the award for playing "The greatest Briton who ever lived," as he calls Winston Churchil,,

For Those who may have stayed in the waiting list of the Awards for years, OSCARS® 90 was a night of recognition.


-R Composers Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez
L-R Composers Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez
Photo by Getty Images

Also backstage, still  holding the  Oscars® that ROBERT LOPEZ dedicated on the stage to his late mother (who died in August last year)  he said: “She was the main force for me to learn to play the piano and to write music” Teasingly  KRISTEN added “ She told him that if he didn’t practice, she would make him eat the piano. “Talking about his compsition, “Remember me”  he added: “The song is about leaving the people you love, and that’s what happened to me. It was about her” (his mother). And the Philippine composer had a message for the young immigrants in America. “I’ve always felt “Other” in this country even though I was raised very assimilated." he said, "I want to encourage every brown kid living in this country to pursue their dream.”



Photo by:/Getty Pictures

Upon receiving his OSCAR ® DARLA said” We are so happy, COCO is proof that art can only be done when we have a place for everyone who feels like an “other.”  She then expressed her wish that the reception of  COCO by the American people, may open  the  “future” for Mexican “cineastas”.(people who work with film).

In a backstage interview MOLINA  said: “Storytellers come from all sort of places. I am grateful to the people at Pixar who, because my family is from  Mexico and I am familiar with the “Dia de Los Muertos” tradition, allowed me to work with them.”

As if addressing the Mexican people UNKRICH  added: “COCO would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions.”


“A Fantastic Woman”

Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Film Magic

Also backstage, When asked what can be done to bring more representation both from Latin American and Latinos born in the United states to Hollywood, director LELIO said: “ I guess include them in the stories, hire them for the roles, and you know, just (the) understanding that stories come from so many different sources." His OSCAR)r_is the second, that a Chile’s film wins in the  history of the Academy's 90 years awards.


The Shape of Water”

Composer Alexandre Desplat
Composer Alexandre Desplat,  Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty images

In addition for the Oscars® for BEST PICTURE and BEST DIRECTOR, Director DEL TORO’s  “The Shape of Water ” won an OSCAR® for BEST ORIGIAN SCORE for composer ALEXANDRE DESPLAT. Receiving his statuette on the stage, he said: “Merci, c’est fantastique (Thanks, this is fantastic) and affter thanking the Academy, the recording studios and the musicians who played his score and revealing that his mother is Greek, the composer said “Thanks Guillermo, for letting the music (that he composed) convey the beautiful melancholy of Love "



Writer/Director Jordan Peele
Writer/Director Jordan Peele
 Photo by Keving Winter/Getty images

In one of the night’s most memorable moments for Black film, Writer/Director JORDAN PEELE became the first Afro-American writer ever to win in this category. From the podium, on his acceptance speech he said: “I have stopped writing this movie about twenty times because I though it wasn’t going to work, nobody was going to make it, but I came back to it because I knew that if somebody let me make this movie, somebody will see it. “ He dedicated his Oscar® to his mother who taught him to love, even in the face of hatred, and to those people who buy tickets to see “GET OUT.”



The Shape of Water

Set Decorator JEFFREY  A. MELVIN ( left) Production designed PAUL DEHAN AUSTERBERRY (Center) and Set Decorator SHANE VIEAU

Set Decorator JEFFREY  A. MELVIN ( left) Production designed PAUL DEHAN AUSTERBERRY (Center) and Set Decorator SHANE VIEAU, Getty/images

Production Designer  DEHAN AUSTERBERRY  said in  a Backstage interview, that the idea for the set of  “The Shape of Water” started with Guillermo, and that  the first thing they did was deal with the palett and the color green, which is the reason why the whole movie is so color coordinated. AUSTERBERRY explained that because it was important for the movie to have a contrast between the  Lab building where the mute girl worked and her home, he chose for her apartment what he calls  “Brutal Style architecture.”  With thirty years in the business  MELVIN want the Canadian company who made the sets, where he works, to continue winning OSCARS.(r).  Decorator VEAU added that working with Guillermo is good because he knows exactly what he wants but allows creativity on the part of the artist.


JIMMY KIMMEL    Photo by Getty/images

For the second time, ABC brought  JIMMY KIMMEL to Host Hollywood’s biggest night, and most agree that he presented  a dignified ceremony. The audience laughed when  when referring to last year’s Oscar® mixed up, he warn the winners not to get up immediately when they hear their names  called.  

His opening monologue was  focused in serious issues but handled with humor. mentioning the women harassment, he called  Oscar® "The most respected man in Hollywood. Walking towards his tall statuette on the stage and pointing at it, he added: “we can see where his hands are at all times. He is never rude to anybody, and he does not have a (male organ). KIMMEL ended his monologue in a serious tone:  “We cannot let bad behavior slide anymore. The World is watching us. We need to set an example” But the comedian in him could not resist a final joke, so he added: “If we can work together to stop sexual harassment in the workplace, women will only have to deal with harassment all the time at other place they go.”  

For  those who attended the Ceremony in Hollywood, the  OSCARS® Awards this year, was an elegant, Festive night. For those who watched it on Television  it was a night, of surprises,showing diversity and inclusion. For all, it was a night, where the award were  bestowed to the world’s talent in recognition of their contributions and with a sense of equality.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All the photographs and quotes from the winners, published in this article are used with permission of the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences A.M.P.A.S.®

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