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'Pinocchio' Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro vows to uplift animation

“This is an art form that has been kept commercially and industrially at the kids table for so long,” said del Toro, who will fund a class for students from Mexico.
Image: 95th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Guillermo del Toro backstage at the Academy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday. Richard Harbaugh / A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images
/ Source: Associated Press

Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro vowed to boost animation and help the next generation of Latino filmmakers in the genre after his Oscar win for best animated feature for his film "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio."

“This is an art form that has been kept commercially and industrially at the kids table for so long,” del Toro said. “A win helps, but it is about going forward as a community making it.”

“Pinocchio” got rave reviews for a stunningly beautiful production that takes a darker look at issues between the puppet and his surrogate father, Gepetto. Unlike the 1940 Disney movie, del Toro’s movie refers to topics like war and fascism, and he has said it's not about Pinocchio's learning to be the perfect boy.

Del Toro has long pushed against seeing animation as only for children. He has said that animation is pure cinema and that animators should be treated as artists — not technicians.

In the movie's credits, del Toro listed the movie's artists who made the animation possible ahead of the film's main voice actors, who included such high-profile actors as Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton.

After the win, del Toro told reporters he will continue to advocate for animators by spurring dialogue with the guilds and the motion picture academy, planning to “push this message” at the coming Annecy International Animation Festival, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Del Toro has established two filmmaking scholarships and plans to finance a stop-motion animation class for students from Mexico at the Gobelins animation school. 

“It will help us give more movies in the community in Mexico and in Latin America to keep pushing for stop motion, which is one of the most democratic forms of animation. All the other forms of animation are too difficult or too expensive. But a kid can put a camera on the wall in their room, they can do animation in stop motion,” he said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In his acceptance speech, Del Toro said animation was "ready to be taken to the next step."

"We are all ready for it," he said. "Please help us keep animation in the conversation."

It is del Toro's third Oscar; he won best picture and best director for his 2017 movie “The Shape of Water."

Del Toro addressed the issues of representation and being Latino as he spoke about his efforts to boost the next generation of filmmakers.

“The first duty of representation is to do it really well ... because you’re not doing it for you,” del Toro said. “You’re doing it for people that come after you and are looking for opportunities. If you don’t that, you’re closing that door.”

Del Toro said that when he came to the U.S. in the 1990s, he encountered “a lot of open and subtle racism.” He remembered “with great chagrin” an interview his cinematographer, Oscar winner Guillermo Navarro, had with a talent agent.

The agent “said to him ‘Why do I want a Mexican? I have a gardener.’”

“You have to keep pushing it all the time. It doesn’t end with one generation. It doesn’t end with one person,” del Toro said. “But again, together you push that limit more and more and create opportunity.”