Del Toro wins top DGA prize for ‘The Shape of Water’

Director Guillermo del Toro holds his nominee plaque for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for “The Shape of Water” at the 70th Annual DGA Awards in Beverly Hills, California, US, February 3, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 04 February 2018
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Del Toro wins top DGA prize for ‘The Shape of Water’

LOS ANGELES: Guillermo del Toro’s bid for Oscars glory was boosted Saturday as he took top prize at the Directors Guild of America honors — a key predictor for the Academy Awards.
The Mexican filmmaker was crowned best director for his Cold War-era fantasy romance “The Shape of Water,” a month ahead of the glittering culmination of Hollywood’s annual awards season.
The 53-year-old has already scooped a Golden Globe for directing the movie, starring Sally Hawkins as a janitor in a top secret government laboratory who falls in love with a mysterious merman-like sea creature.
“This movie particularly took me to do things I was very afraid of,” Del Toro told fellow filmmakers at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.
“It was a movie that was full of many reasons why it shouldn’t work, and those are the reasons why it works.”
An emotional Del Toro’s voice trembled as he dedicated the award to his mother and to his father, who was recently taken ill.
“While they are still with me, and they can still hear me say this, thank you dad, thank you mom. You believe in me and my monsters all the time.”
Del Toro edged out Christopher Nolan, nominated for World War II thriller “Dunkirk” — another film seen as a top contender for Oscar glory on March 4.
“The Shape of Water” was nominated for seven Golden Globes in January, eventually taking home two, and was awarded best picture by the Producers Guild. It is up for 13 Oscars.
The DGA Awards are seen as a reliable bellwether of Academy Awards success — particularly the best director prize, as 13 of the last 14 winners went on to win the Oscar for best director.
Presenters at Saturday’s star-studded event for 1,600 guests included Sam Rockwell, Amy Schumer, Saoirse Ronan, Kevin Bacon, Allison Janney and Damien Chazelle, who won the top prize at the last ceremony.
The other nominees for best director were Greta Gerwig for coming-of-age story “Lady Bird,” Martin McDonagh for dark crime comedy “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” and Jordan Peele for racial satire “Get Out.”
Peele walked away with a medallion for best first-time feature, and said the reaction to the movie had made for “the best year of my life, hands down.”


Like a Berber: Madonna celebrates 60th birthday in Marrakech

Updated 19 August 2018
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Like a Berber: Madonna celebrates 60th birthday in Marrakech

  • The Queen of Pop donned the attire of a “Berber Queen” in Marrakech on her birthday
  • On Sunday, the American star posted pictures and videos on her Instagram of a fun photo shoot with British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj

JEDDAH: Madonna’s 60th birthday celebrations are creating quite a buzz, especially delighting her Arab fans that she chose to mark the milestone in Morocco.
The Queen of Pop donned the attire of a “Berber Queen” in Marrakech on her birthday, wearing a fuchsia chiffon long-sleeved gown by Gucci with Berber jewelry and a headpiece by Marianna Harutunian.
On Sunday, the American star posted pictures and videos on her Instagram of a fun photo shoot with British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj, known as the “Andy Warhol of Marrakech.” Madonna, who posed for pictures with her family, is seen dressed in a traditional red attire, accessorized with colorful jewelry and a Louis Vuitton headscarf.
“Life can be sweet and sour and sometimes a surprise can happen that you never would think of and this was one of (those) moments; want to thank Madonna and her lovely family and being patient for the shoot at my riad,” Hajjaj wrote on Instagram.
Hashtagged #birthday #magic #Marakesh, Madonna’s pictures have gone viral on social media since she first posted a portrait of herself bedecked in Berber jewelry and brandishing a sign that reads “The Queen.” She wrote: “Finally and at last it’s my birthday! I have survived! Life is beautiful!”
On the eve of the big day, she toured the former imperial city of Morocco under the close watch of the paparazzi and wrote: “Walking through the Labyrinth of the Medina during the Call to Prayer.” She posted a video shot at night, wandering in the alleys of the city’s ancient market.
“Mystical walk through the desert,” she captioned a photo featuring her in the desert, with six horsemen holding candles in the background.
Another portrait shows Madonna wearing a fez decorated with Berber jewelry, along with a caption reading: “Today I am wearing CAKE on my head!“
Known for repeatedly reinventing herself during her 35-year pop career, Madonna has been staying at the luxury palace-turned-hotel El Fenn, owned by the sister of British billionaire Richard Branson, Vanessa. The property has been redecorated and staff have had their smart phones confiscated to protect the privacy of Madonna and her guests. The birthday guest list has also been kept secret, and Moroccan police were keeping journalists and photographers at bay.
Guests reportedly dressed in traditional Bedouin garb for the Arabian-themed party featuring Berber music. According to the Mirror, Indian designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee designed kaftans and Berber costumes for them.
Agence France-Presse reported a local photographer as saying that he had spotted Madonna wearing a veil covering the hair and face but for the eyes. She reportedly visited the five-star Kasbah Agafay spa, went shopping at a souk and enjoyed a camel trek in the desert.
Local media reported that she and around 15 friends had dined out at a restaurant in western Morocco, escorted by bodyguards and under police surveillance.
Taking to social media under the hashtag #MadonnaAt60, fans from across the world sent birthday wishes to the pop diva. Since her first, eponymous album came out in 1983, Madonna has sold more than 300 million records, with albums such as “True Blue,” “Like a Prayer” and “Ray of Light” topping music charts around the world.