On the 90th anniversary of the Oscars, Guillermo del Toro was finally welcomed into the Best Director club when he prevailed for his fantasy film “The Shape of Water.” Earlier this awards season del Toro told us that “The Shape of Water” was a “fairy tale for troubled times,” a reference to the movie’s heroine (Sally Hawkins) being a mute woman who falls in love with a sea creature. Besides winning Best Director, del Toro also accepted the prize for Best Picture as one of the film’s producers. Click through our photo gallery above to see our updated Best Director gallery featuring all 90 winners in order.
Guillermo del Toro joins a list of former Best Director winners that notably includes his fellow Mexican director friends Alejandro G. Inarritu and Alfonso Cuaron. These three amigos have now won four of the past five directing prizes at the Oscars. Cuaron prevailed first for “Gravity” (2013), followed by Inarritu winning rare back-to-back trophies for “Birdman” (2014) and “The Revenant” (2015).
Last year’s champion Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”) became the youngest director to win in this category at just 32 years old. For his musical romance set in contemporary Los Angeles, Chazelle came this close to directing a Best Picture winner after “La La Land” was mistakenly named instead of “Moonlight” during the infamous Envelopegate fiasco.
Besides Inarritu, other recent two-time champs include Ang Lee for “Life of Pi” (2012) and “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), Steven Spielberg for “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) and “Schindler’s List” (1993), and Clint Eastwood for “Million Dollar Baby” (2004) and “Unforgiven” (1992). None of them hold a candle to John Ford, who won a record-setting four Best Director Oscars for “The Informer” (1935), “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “How Green Was My Valley” (1941) and “The Quiet Man” (1952).