Oscars 2018: Guillermo Del Toro (‘The Shape of Water’) would make history as 4th Latin American writer to win Original Screenplay

Guillermo Del Toro is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay (with co-writer Vanessa Taylor) for the fantastical love story “The Shape of Water.” Should Del Toro win for his screenplay he would make history as only the fourth Latin American writer to win an Oscar.

Argentinian scribes Aida Bortnik and Luis Puenzo made history as the first Latin Americans to land a writing nomination when they contended for Best Original Screenplay for “The Official Story” (1985). It would take 17 years before there would be more Latin American nominees: Mexican siblings Alfonso Cuaron and Carlos Cuaron were up for Original Screenplay for “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (2002).

Del Toro received his first Oscar nom for Original Screenplay for “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006), competing against fellow Mexican writer Guillermo Arriaga for “Babel.” But Del Toro’s friend and fellow countryman Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would beat him to the punch when it came to winning. Inarritu along with Argentinian co-writers Nicolas Giacobone and Armando Bo (and a fourth co-writer, Alexander Dinelaris Jr.) made history with “Birdman” (2014) as the first Latin American writers to win Best Original Screenplay — or any writing award for that matter.

Three other Latin American writers have earned nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay: Brazilian Braulio Mantovani for “City of God” (2003), Puerto Rican Jose Rivera for “The Motorcycle Diaries” (2004) and Cuaron for “Children of Men” (2006). And long before that Argentinian-born writer Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast was nominated for Best Story for “Laughter” (1930). But to date “Birdman” is still the only winning screenplay by Latin American authors.

“The Shape of Water” is this year’s most nominated film, scoring 13 bids. It is currently in a heated battle for Best Picture where it has a narrow advantage in our latest predictions, and Del Toro is expected to win Best Director, but Del Toro and Taylor are underdogs for Best Original Screenplay as they currently are in fourth place with odds of 22/1. In first place is Greta Gerwig (“Lady Bird”) with odds of 27/20. Right on Gerwig’s heels is Martin McDonagh (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) with odds of 13/5. Jordan Peele‘s horror-comedy “Get Out” is next with odds of 3/1. And rounding out the category are husband-and-wife writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon for their real-life love story “The Big Sick” with odds of 80/1.

Should “The Shape of Water” pull off an upset in this race it could be a strong indicator that the film is destined for the big prize at the end of the night. Do you think Del Toro will make history with a victory for writing?

Be sure to check out how our experts rank Oscar contenders in all 24 categories. Use the drop-down menus at the top of each page to see the other categories. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your Oscar winner predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on March 4.

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