Guillermo Del Toro Just Got A Star On The Walk Of Fame And It’s What He Said In His Acceptance Speech That Made Mexico Proud
It’s easy to tell this story in one sentence: August 6 saw legendary Latino director Guillermo del Toro awarded with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But, there’s so much more to this story than meets the eye. We did a deep dive to flesh out the man, the myth, and the legend that is Guillermo del Toro, and what got him to that point a few days ago, where he gave an iconic acceptance speech to a crowd of supporters.
To start with: just who is this guy? October 9, 1964 saw Guillermo del Toro Gómez born in Guadalajara, Jelisco, Mexico. He clearly knew what he wanted to do with his life from a young age – when del Toro was eight years old he began tinkering with his father’s Super 8 camera, making short films featuring the murders of his mother and brothers, among other things. The years passed, and he eventually studied special effects and makeup under the tutelage of special-effects artist, Dick Smith.
Most likely these experiences influenced Guillermo del Toro’s interest in depicting horror and fantasy scenes in his work. And what is his work, you ask? Well, if you’ve been living under a rock you probably haven’t heard of films the likes of The Shape of Water, Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labrynth, Hellboy, or the Blade franchise. Okay but seriously, you should have heard of at least one of these movies, people.
Okay, it’s a bit of an exaggeration to use the term “myth”, but suffice to say that del Toro is one hell of a storyteller and just generally a massive contributor to the industry – after all, that’s what got him the star on Hollywood Boulevard. To put it in perspective, each year there are approximately 200 nominations submitted to the Hollywood Walk of Fame selection committee. In order to even be considered, nominees must have a minimum of five years experience in their industry, in addition to having a history of “charitable contributions.” In the end, only 20 to 24 people are actually awarded a star. If there’s anything that says Guillermo del Toro’s officially arrived, it’s his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Many took to social media to highlight just how much del Toro truly deserved this recognition.
So what did Mr. del Toro do when giving his acceptance speech last Tuesday? He began with a simple “gracias”, and then commended another “great Mexican filmmaker, Issa López” for her talents. From the outset of his speech, del Toro foregrounded his Hispanic background, and showed support for his contemporaries. “I am Mexican … and I am an immigrant,” he said shortly afterwards. “Right now, we are in a moment of great fear … and great division. That’s why fear is used. It’s used to divide us. It’s used to tell us that we’re all different and we shouldn’t trust each other. And these lies make us easier to control, and make it easier to hate each other. But the antidote to that is to come together.”
“As a Mexican, receiving this star is a gesture and no gesture right now can be banal or simple.” del Toro continued. “This is very important this is happening right now because I can tell to all of you, all immigrants from every nation, that you should believe in the possibilities and not the obstacles. Do not believe the lies they tell about us. Believe in the stories you have inside and believe that we all can make a difference and we all have stories to tell and we all can contribute to the art and the craft and the world in any way we see fit.”
Most were so happy to see him represent his Mexicanidad as he accepted his star on the Walk of Fame.
And there you have it. What’s made Guillermo del Toro so legendary is not just his work, but his awareness around the power and influence of the media we consume – especially in an era where white supremacism has snaked its way into the community, and into politics. He knew that his award was not just for himself, but for the immigrant, Hispanic community. After all, representation matters! It shows people of color that they too are deserving of success and having their stories told. And it also reminds the wider community about the great contributions people of color and immigrants still do make in today’s America.