With thirteen nominations under its belt, “The Shape Of Water” is the current frontrunner to win big on Oscar night. Almost everyone has swooned for Guillermo del Toro‘s lovely blend of fantasy, romance, monster movie, and classical filmmaker, however, there’s one director with a bone to pick.
Jean-Pierre Jeunet has accused del Toro of stealing a scene from his 1991 film “Delicatessen,” and essentially replicating it in “The Shape Of Water.” The sequence in question involves Dominique Pinon and Karin Viard dancing in unison on a bed, while an old musical plays in the background on the television. In ‘Shape,’ Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins similarly do a little softshoe number while seated on the sofa, as a musical plays in the background on the television.
Jeunet brought up the two scenes to del Toro who brushed off the accusation, saying that they both have inspired from other directors, particularly Terry Gilliam.
“I told him: You have a lot of imagination, a lot of talent. Why go and [steal] the ideas of others?” Jeunet told Ouest-France (this has been Google translated). “He said, ‘We owe Terry Gilliam everything.’ According to him, he does not steal from others, it is Terry Gilliam who has influenced us all. When he stakes the scene of the couple sitting on the edge of the bed dancing with their feet, with the musical in the background on TV, it is so copied and pasted [from] ‘Delicatessen’ that there is a moment when I say to myself that he lacks self-respect.”
Jeunet says that he won’t sue for plagiarism, but that he’s mostly disappointed, because he believes, “Guillermo has enough talent not to do that.” Moreover, he won’t hear any argument that perhaps the director unconsciously copied the scene, saying, “it is obvious that he had ‘Delicatessen’ in mind.”
So, will this be this year’s big #OscarControversy? We’ll see. Guillermo del Toro has been a pretty open book about this influences for “The Shape Of Water,” but has yet to respond to this claim from Jeunet. Check out the two scenes below and judge for yourself.