‘The Shape of Water’ takes another honor. Is Oscar next?

Guillermo del Toro, left, celebrates his Directors Guild win with “Shape of Water” cast members Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

“The Shape of Water” took top honors from the Producers Guild of America. Its director, Guillermo del Toro, just picked up a prize from the Directors Guild.

Is the Oscar for best picture the inevitable next step?

Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

I’m Glenn Whipp, The Times’ awards columnist and your newsletter host.

‘Shape of Water’ takes another big prize


“This was a movie that was full of many reasons why it shouldn’t work — and those are the reasons why it works,” Del Toro said, accepting the Directors Guild’s feature film award Saturday night. “And for you to tell me today to keep doing these insane fables that I’ve believed in for 25 years means the world to me.”

It’s not Del Toro’s first acceptance speech this awards season and it likely won’t be his last. The Mexican-born filmmaker is the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for director next month. Since the DGA aligned itself with the Academy Awards calendar in 1950, all but seven of its winners have gone on to take the Oscar.

So ‘The Shape of Water’ is winning the Oscar, right?

Not so fast. Wins at the PGA and DGA are a great start, but not all movies that have won both honors end up taking best picture. Just last year, “La La Land” swept the two guilds, but lost to “Moonlight.” “Crash” bested “Brokeback Mountain”; “Saving Private Ryan” lost to “Shakespeare in Love.” Upsets happen. Thankfully. Otherwise, why tune in?

How might each best picture nominee make its case for the Oscar? I conjured up a few scenarios, like this one for “Dunkirk”:


“After giving the Oscar to a micro-indie last year, it’s time the academy goes big. Imax big. And just so you don’t forget about us, don’t be surprised if you wake up one morning and there’s this guy in a trench coat outside your bedroom window, hoisting a boombox over his head with Hans Zimmer’s score blaring out into the light of the new morning, the churning soundscapes beating voters’ eardrums (and hearts) into submission.”

You can read all the Oscar pitches here.

Jordan Peele won the DGA’s first-time feature director prize for “Get Out.”
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times )

Jordan Peele on race, RoRo and why you don’t need to tell him you’ve seen “Get Out” three times

“Get Out” writer-director Jordan Peele was another DGA winner, taking the guild’s first-time feature film directing honors. I had a long conversation with Peele for this week’s Envelope cover story, where we hit on the subjects mentioned above as well as what he has in mind as a producer on the “Twilight Zone” reboot and how James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend” might have possibly fit into “Get Out.”

Here’s a bonus track that didn’t make it into the story. Since “Get Out” is such a fun film to see in a packed theater, I asked Peele to name his favorite moviegoing experience. He gave me four.

1) “Edward Scissorhands,” Ziegfeld Theatre, New York. “Game changer. At the time, it was the best movie I’d ever seen. And it still might be my all-time favorite.”

2) “Thelma & Louise,” Loews 84th Street, New York. “I saw it with my mother. We watched it twice all the way through. I was 11 or 12. I didn’t think it was going to be the movie for me, but it was. There was something inspiring and transformative about that, the fact that it put me in the shoes of Susan Sarandon’s Louise character.”

3) “Paranormal Activity,” ArcLight Hollywood. “I was alone, but with a full audience and I felt that audience. It just completely blew me away — a master class in pacing, timing and the terror of the unknown.”

4) “Schindler’s List,” Regency Theatre, New York. I saw it there probably three times. Besides the fact of how important and poignant that movie was, I don’t know that a film has ever teleported me as that movie did. You just feel like you’re where it’s putting you.”

For more coverage of the entertainment world, please check out the new Times’ podcast, “The Reel.” New episodes drop weekly.


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Twitter: @glennwhipp