It seems pretty likely that we’ll hear Guillermo del Toro’s name at this year’s Oscars, but the filmmaker wants his fellow artisans to get the same due as big-name directors. While accepting an award at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards on Monday (February 28th), del Toro criticized the Academy for cutting select behind-the-scenes categories from the Oscars’ live broadcast, noting the collective nature of filmmaking.
“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,” del Toro said. The director, who was accepting the Filmmaking Achievement Award, was referring to the artists who work in documentaries, editing, makeup and hairstyling, production design, short films, and sound. Last week, the Academy revealed that the awards for those categories would be announced an hour before the Oscars’ live broadcast began, and then edited into the live show.
In his acceptance speech, del Toro — whose film Nightmare Alley earned Oscar nods for Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, and Production Design — spoke to the life-affirming nature of cinema, especially when we’re constantly inundated with death and bad news. “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 director then shouted out behind-the-scenes artisans for making those stories possible, emphasizing the fact that it takes a village to make a movie. “We do them together and people make them with us,” del Toro said. “They risk everything and make the day a miracle.” Watch del Toro’s full remarks below.
del Toro is the first A-list director to join the chorus of criticism from filmmaking associations surrounding the Academy’s decision to cut certain awards from the Oscars. The American Cinema Editors said the move “sends a message that some creative disciplines are more vital than others.”
“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 honored and celebrated with the passion, dignity, and inclusion they deserve.”
The Set Decorators of America also condemned the decision. “We are all diminished by this action,” they said in a statement.
The 94th Oscars ceremony will be broadcast on ABC on March 27th with Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall serving as the ceremony’s first hosts since 2018. del Toro’s next film is a stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio, which he previewed with a new teaser trailer back in January.