Through all his ups and downs in a career spanning several decades, Guillermo del Toro holds just one Academy Award nomination, for the screenplay of Pan’s Labyrinth from 2006. From the looks of things, del Toro may be hunting some new Oscar nominations in the very near future, as his next project has just landed a very awards-friendly release date.

It is called The Shape of Water. Here’s the official plot synopsis, from the Fox Searchlight press release:

From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes The Shape of Water - an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elsa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elsa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

On paper, it sounds like a spiritual sequel to Pan’s Labyrinth, another “other-worldly fairy tale” set against the backdrop of real-world events. In addition to directing the film, del Toro also co-wrote the screenplay with Vanessa Taylor.

Joining Hawkins and Spencer is a cast that features Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones. The movie will open in North American theaters on December 8. And del Toro also has Pacific Rim 2 (which he produced and co-wrote, but did not direct) coming next February as well. That could make this three very big months for GDT.

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