Guillermo del Toro was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday. But rather than use his speech to celebrate his cinematic achievements, the Mexican director spoke directly to fellow immigrants.
"Right now, we are in a moment of great fear — great fear and great division," he said to a crowd that included JJ Abrams, Ted Danson and Lana Del Rey. "Because that's why fear is used. It's used to divide us. It's used to tell us that we're different, that we shouldn't trust each other."
Del Toro began his speech by telling his audience there are two things they should know about him—that he's weird, and he's an immigrant.
The Academy Award-winning director of "The Shape of Water" said that receiving the star as a Mexican immigrant was an important gesture in a particularly divisive time in America: Eight Mexican nationals were killed in Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso and thousands of Central American immigrants are still held in detention centers at the border.
So he addressed immigrants: "Believe in the possibilities and not the obstacles."
"Do not believe the lies they tell about us," he said. "Believe in the stories you have inside, and believe that we all can make a difference and we all have stories to tell."
He later knelt over his star and unfurled the flag of Mexico, kissed it and held it to his heart.
Del Toro has vocally supported immigrants onscreen and off.
At a press conference at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, del Toro said anti-immigrant sentiment has been brewing for years.
"If you're Mexican and you crossed the border, [immigration opponents] never really went away," he said. "They've been latent all this time."