‘Shape of Water’ wins big at Academy Awards

Ratings take a 16 percent drop as viewers continue to avoid awards shows

90th Academy Awards - Oscars Backstage - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Oscar winners Sam Rockwell, Frances McDormand, Allison Janney and Gary Oldman (L to R) pose backstage. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

LOS ANGELES — Romantic fantasy “The Shape of Water” won best picture at the Oscars on Sunday, the film industry’s most prestigious honor, on a night where themes of female empowerment and activism almost overshadowed the awards. The film’s director, Guillermo del Toro, also won for best director.

The movie about a mute cleaning woman who falls in love with a strange river creature — a fable about the mistreatment of the powerless — had gone into the ceremony with a leading 13 nominations and won a total of four Academy Awards.

It won despite a plagiarism lawsuit filed in Los Angeles last month claiming its unusual plot was lifted from a 1969 American play. Del Toro has denied ever seeing or hearing about the play.

Greta Gerwig’s independent mother-daughter tale “Lady Bird” left empty-handed while Universal Pictures’ racial satire “Get Out” got just one award — for original screenplay — despite speculation that its bold take on modern race relations might take the top prize.

“I stopped writing this movie about 20 times because I thought it was impossible. I thought it wasn’t going to work,” “Get Out” director and screenwriter Jordan Peele said.

As expected, Britain’s Gary Oldman won his first Oscar for playing World War II leader Winston Churchill in Warner Bros.’ “Darkest Hour,” while Frances McDormand’s woman in a vengeful fury was a popular best actress winner for Fox Searchlight’s dark comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel tackled Hollywood’s sexual misconduct scandal with pointed jokes on a night that became a platform for activists on issues ranging from gun violence and the Black Lives Matter movement to sexism and immigration.

Ratings for the telecast tumbled nearly 16 percent from last year, preliminary Nielsen data showed on Monday. The nearly four-hour live telecast attracted 18.9 percent of viewers in 56 major markets according to Nielsen’s preliminary overnight metered market household ratings, an ABC spokesman said. Last year’s ratings figure was 22.4 percent when the Oscars audience fell to a nine-year low of 32.9 million viewers.


Last year’s embarrassing envelope mix-up over the best picture winner was turned into a running joke, with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway returning for a second year to announce the top prize.

The two veterans got a standing ovation, as Beatty deadpanned, “It’s so nice seeing you again.”

“Call Me by Your Name” won best adapted screenplay; “A Fantastic Woman,” Chile’s groundbreaking story about a transgender woman, won best foreign language film; and Mexican-inspired “Coco” was named best animated feature.

Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney took home their first Oscars for their supporting roles in “Three Billboards” and “I, Tonya,” respectively.



LOS ANGELES — The Academy Awards — the highest honors in the motion picture industry — were handed out on Sunday at a ceremony in Hollywood hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Following is a list of winners in key categories for the awards:

Best Picture

“The Shape of Water”

Best Actor

Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”

Best Actress

Frances McDormand — “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro — “The Shape of Water”

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Rockwell — “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney — “I, Tonya”

Best Original Screenplay

“Get Out”

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Call Me By Your Name”

Best Animated Film


Best Documentary Film


Best Foreign Language Film

“A Fantastic Woman” — Chile

Original Song

“Remember Me” — Coco