Why 'Shape of Water' Golden Globe Nominations are So Groundbreaking

Monster movies are now critical darlings. 

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Never before has monster-horror ever garnered critical acclaim quite like The Shape of Water, which just picked up seven total Golden Globe nominations. Horror hardly ever gets recognition at the Globes, let alone the ocampy sub-genre of monster-horror.

Official nominations for the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards were released Monday morning, and it looks like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is totally DTF with the creepy, sexy fish man from The Shape of Water, because it received more noms than any other show or movie.

Nominations include: Best Picture, Sally Hawkins for Best Actress, Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress, Richard Jenkins for Best Supporting Actor, Guillermo del Toro for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score. This all comes as a surprise because every Best Picture winner in recent memory tends to fall squarely within realistic or historical fiction with the exception of Avatar (2009-2010) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003-2004). The Exorcist, also a horror movie, won Best Picture in 1973-1974. As did E.T. in 1982-1983, which featured a very different lovable “other” in a Spielberg blockbuster as opposed to indie horror.

But a win for The Shape of Water, especially for Best Picture, would pretty much be a world’s first win for monster-horror.

Sally Hawkins plays Elisa Esposito, who risks everything to pursue this bizarre love.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Shape of Water, from Guillermo del Toro, tells a tragic love story set during the Cold War — but it’s between a telepathic fish-man and a female member of the overnight cleaning staff at the secret government facility he’s being kept in. Have you ever wondered if the creature from the black lagoon can fall in love? Now you will, because plenty people, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association included, think The Shape of Water is one of the best movies of the year.

This all comes as a bit of a surprise because, well, The Shape of Water is basically an indie movie based on the old monster movie The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Guillermo del Toro worked very hard to make the fish man character “sexy,” reportedly making the specific demand that he have “kissable lips” and a “nice butt.” We’re almost impressed that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognized The Shape of Water for its stunning, albeit intensely unconventional, beauty.

'The Shape of Water' is a love story unlike anything you've ever seen.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Guillermo del Toro has done flashy action movies like Pacific Rim and both Hellboy films, but he’s perhaps best known for his work on the haunting horror-fable Pan’s Labyrinth. Whether working with material based on comic book source material or his own novel stories, del Toro almost always works to humanize monsters in a way that makes us realize that the true monster often come from within our own hearts.

Most The Shape of Water reviews call it a monster movie with heart, which is something that everybody, including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is recognizing this year.

But how many awards can this aquatic love story take home in the end? We’ll see soon enough.

Seth Meyers will host the 75th Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018, and if he doesn’t come out on stage dressed like a fish man at least once, what’s the point?

Related Tags