English actress Sally Hawkins already has won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical for her portrayal of the kind-hearted primary school teacher in the 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky. And Hawkins is back at the Golden Globes tonight in hopes of taking home her second award for her widely acclaimed performance in Guillermo del Torro’s dark fairytale, The Shape of Water.

Hawkin plays Elisa Esposito, a mute cleaning woman during the Cold War who falls in love with a man-like amphibian creature. The movie ventures into unusual and risky territory as it’s considered to be a romance. Hawkins is perfectly suited to play the multifaceted character … because the role was actually written for her! About four years ago, when The Shape of Water was just a vague idea and not yet written, Guillermo called Hawkins to inform her of his plan to write a role for her specifically. He started writing the screenplay in 2012 along with Vanessa Taylor. Sally Hawkins became aware Guillermo intended to create a role for her which was in the line of a silent film, but that she’d be given a monologue as well as a song-and-dance number. “To be in his line of vision is more than I can say because it’s a rare film,” the actress now says while holding back tears of gratitude.

However, while shooting the one-of-a-kind film, there were times when Hawkins admits she doubted she was properly cast. “I’m sure he didn’t mean me,” she’d tell herself. As humble or confounded as the actress has felt about the role, many people are now describing her work as “brilliant.”

The Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer likewise received a call from Guillermo; he let The Help actress know he’d written an empowering role for her as well! A huge fan of the famous director, Spencer couldn’t have been more pleased. She plays Elisa’s friend and coworker, Zelda Fuller, in the fantasy film–and her performance has been honored with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress to boot. “I didn’t know that [Guillermo] knew who I was, so for him to think … that I could add something else to the role was humbling,” Spencer says.

The American Film Institute has selected The Shape of Water as one of the top 10 films of the year. In fact, the film is also nominated at the Globes for Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Richard Jenkins, and Best Original Score.

At the Golden Globes, Hawkins’ performance is up against four other super talented and highly celebrated actresses in the category of Best Performance of an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. Those actresses are Michelle Williams in All the Money in the World; Meryl Streep in The Post; Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; and Jessica Chastain in Molly’s Game.

As far as the category of Best Supporting Actress, Octavia is listed along with Mary J. Blige in Mudbound, Hong Chau in Downsizing, Allison Janney in I, Tonya, and Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird.

For those of you who have seen all of these performances, which two actresses do you believe most deserve the awards–and why?

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