'The Shape of Water' wins best film Oscar; McDormand, Oldman scoop acting awards

Frances McDormand won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for playing an angry woman seeking justice in dark comedy 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'.

'The Shape of Water' director Guillermo del Toro with his Oscar awards on 4 March 2018. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - Fantastical romance The Shape of Water won best picture, the film industry’s most prestigious honour, at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony, with the film's Mexican director Guillermo del Toro winning the best director Oscar.

Del Toro, 53, is known for making both mainstream action movies like Hellboy and offbeat dark fantasies like Pan’s Labyrinth. The Shape of Water has been celebrated as a visual feast about a woman who falls in love with a strange amphibious creature.

“The greatest thing art does, our industry does, is to erase the lines in the sand - we should continue doing that - when the world tells us to make them deeper,” Del Toro said in accepting the award.

Del Toro was favored to win the directing prize after picking up the Directors Guild of America Award last month. He received Academy Awards nominations in 2007 for Pan’s Labyrinth, but this was the first time he was nominated in the directing category.

Del Toro described his films to Reuters earlier this year as “fairytales for modern times.”

Other nominees included Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk, Jordan Peele for Get Out, Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird, and Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread.

The Shape of Water was hit with a plagiarism lawsuit last month that alleged its plot was lifted directly from a 1969 American stage play. Del Toro, who also wrote the screenplay, said he had never seen or read the play.

Frances McDormand won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for playing an angry woman seeking justice in dark comedy Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

It was the second Academy Award for McDormand, 60, following her best actress win in 1997 for crime drama Fargo.

Gary Oldman won his first Oscar on Sunday for his performance as British wartime leader Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

The winners in the main categories in the 2018 Academy Awards. Picture: AFP

Oldman, 59, was the front-runner for the best actor Oscar after sweeping awards season with prizes at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild, and from numerous film critics groups.

“I would just like to salute Winston Churchill, who has been marvelous company on what can be described as an incredible journey,” Oldman said while accepting his award.

He also addressed his 98-year-old mother, who he said was watching the ceremony from her sofa.

“I say to my mother, thank you for your love and support. Put the kettle on. I’m bringing Oscar home.”

Oldman has played Beethoven, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sid Vicious and Pontius Pilate in his 35-year acting career, but he has said taking on Churchill was by far the most daunting role.

“It fills you with fear, but maybe that’s what gives you the best work,” Oldman told Reuters last fall.

The London-born actor is completely unrecognizable in his role as the stooping, bow-tied Churchill, his own features transformed by a facial prosthetic and hours in makeup and costumes.

Darkest Hour focuses on May and June 1940 when Britain appeared on the brink of defeat in World War Two and Churchill faced deep divisions in his own government, the military and the monarchy.

Oldman won despite 2001 domestic violence allegations that resurfaced as the actor’s Oscar prospects gathered steam. Goldman has denied the accusations, made by his then-wife during divorce proceedings, and was never charged.

Oldman was previously Oscar-nominated for 2011 spy movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. He is perhaps best known internationally for playing Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies, and other work includes The Dark Knight, Sid and Nancy, and True Romance.