Following the release of his new feature, Nightmare Alley, Guillermo del Toro has gained the attention of the Oscars yet again. However, the director has criticised the awards body for not celebrating the behind-the-scenes names that Hollywood relies upon to get its biggest films made.
While accepting an award at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards on Monday (February 28th), del Toro called out the Academy Awards for cutting several behind-the-scenes categories, noting that film is a collective industry and should be recognised as such. Addressing the awards body during his Filmmaking Achievement Award acceptance speech, del Toro said: “If any year was the year to think about it, this is not the year not to hear their names live at the Oscars. This is the year to sing and do it live.”
The names del Toro was referring to were those of makeup artists, production and editing assistants, as well as those who work in documentaries, short films, and sound. Last week, The Oscars announced that the awards for those categories would be unveiled an hour before the ceremony is broadcast live, before being edited into the live show.
Elsewhere in his acceptance speech, del Toro took a moment to reiterate the essential importance of cinema, saying: “The pandemic taught us one thing: We need shelter, food, medicine, and stories more than anything else,” he said. “We are a storytelling animal.” The Mexican director’s new film Nightmare Alley earned him Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Production Design.
Del Toro then thanked those behind-the-scenes artists who make films such as Nightmare Alley possible: “We do them together and people make them with us,” del Toro said. “They risk everything and make the day a miracle.” You can watch his full speech below.
Del Toro is the first A-list director to come out in solidarity with The American Cinema Editors, who called out The Oscars for sending a message that “some creative disciplines are more vital than others.” The collective went on to add: “Our contributions to that collaboration may sometimes appear invisible, but they are undeniable,” the collective added. “We hope that film editors and other artists affected by this change will be honoured and celebrated with the passion, dignity, and inclusion they deserve.”