Toronto producer J. Miles Dale wins Oscar for 'The Shape of Water'
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, March 4, 2018 9:22PM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 5, 2018 12:35AM EST
LOS ANGELES - Toronto producer J. Miles Dale won the best picture award at Sunday's Academy Awards but almost missed out on delivering his very first Oscar speech.
Dale shared the Oscar with “The Shape of Water” director Guillermo del Toro but found his microphone was cut off when it was his turn to say a few words.
But he was saved by host Jimmy Kimmel, who went up to Dale and asked: “What did you want to say? I'll tell them.”
Dale was able to briefly salute del Toro's work on the film, saying: “this is his heart and it's everything.”
This is the first Oscar win for Dale, who also worked with del Toro on the 2013 film “Mama” and the horror drama series “The Strain.”
The two are now working on new projects, including a film for Fox Searchlight and a Netflix series.
Dale got his start as a producer largely in the TV world, with credits including “RoboCop” and “F/X: The Series.” He then focused largely on films, with other titles including “Pontypool,” “Love Happens,” “The Vow” and 2013's “Carrie.”
Earlier in the night, Toronto's growth into a film and TV production powerhouse was touted by a trio of Canadians as they won an Oscar for best production design on “The Shape of Water.”
Canadians Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau shared the trophy for crafting the look of the Cold War-era merman romance.
Austerberry is credited for production design while Melvin and Vieau did the set decoration.
Speaking to reporters backstage, Vieau noted that Toronto's screen community had a huge year not only with the leading 13 Oscar nominations for “The Shape of Water,” but also the accolades for TV's “The Handmaid's Tale,” which was shot in the city.
“Toronto (was) above and beyond with everyone in North America with 'Handmaid's Tale' and 'Shape of Water,' we really came out on top,” Vieau said. “It's a really big thing.”
Melvin said after decades of growth, Toronto's TV and film industries are truly “world-class.”
“I have 35 years in the business now and worked in Toronto almost exclusively, so I've worked with and watched the business grow in Toronto and go from children's television to Academy Award-winning films,” said Melvin, who is based in Toronto.
“It started with 'Good Will Hunting,' 'Chicago,' now us.... We want to keep it that way and keep going.”
As they accepted their trophies onstage, the trio thanked their colleagues back home in Toronto.
“Thanks to all the Canadian crew who are partying right now at the Palais Royale in Toronto - this is for you,” said Austerberry, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
“Thank you to the academy. Guillermo - may you keep dreaming up your monsters and their wonderful stories so people like us can help shape their worlds.”
It was the first Oscar nomination for the trio, who also won in the same category at the recent British Academy Film Awards.
Besides del Toro and the film's cinematographer, most of the crew who worked on the movie was Canadian. “The Shape of Water” stars Sally Hawkins as a mute janitor who falls for a captive and abused amphibian creature, played by Doug Jones.
Meanwhile, the winners of the best visual effects award for working on Quebec director Denis Villeneuve's “Blade Runner 2049” thanked their “friends in Montreal,” saying: “Merci beaucoup, this is for you.”
“Thank you to Denis Villeneuve, whose guts are seen in every frame of this film, especially the visual effects,” said John Nelson, who won alongside Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover.
Villeneuve also got a shout-out onstage from Roger Deakins as he accepted the Oscar for best cinematography on “Blade Runner 2049.”
Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel mentioned another Canadian nominee in the opening - “the magnificent Christopher Plummer” - who got a nod for his supporting role in “All the Money in the World.”
Kimmel made a couple of jokes about the 88-year-old Toronto native's age, including a reference to the hit Broadway play “Hamilton,” about one of the founding fathers of the United States.
“How does ('Hamilton' creator and star) Lin-Manuel Miranda compare to the real Alexander Hamilton?” Kimmel teased Plummer from the stage.