The Shape of Water, director Guillermo del Toro’s romantic fantasy about the attraction between a mute cleaner and n aquatic creature, won the Golden Lion for best film at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

The Shape of Water was hailed by critics when it played on the festival’s second day and stayed the front runner for the awards throughout the festival.

“I believe in life, I believe in love and I believe in cinema,” said del Toro as he accepted his award to a standing ovation.

The Shape of Water opens December 8th.

Complete list of Venice Film Festival Winners

Golden Lion: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Grand Jury Prize: “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz
Silver Lion for Best Director: Xavier Legrand, “Custody”
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling, “Hannah”
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Kamel El Basha, “The Insult”
Best Screenplay: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
Special Jury Prize: “Sweet Country,” Warwick Thornton
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Young Performer: Charlie Plummer, “Lean on Pete”

Best Film: “Nico, 1988,” Susanna Nicchiarelli
Best Director: Vahid Jalilvand, “No Date, No Signature”
Special Jury Prize: “Caniba,” Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Best Actress: Lyna Khoudri, “Les bienheureux”
Best Actor: Navid Mohammadzadeh, “No Date, No Signature”
Best Screenplay: “Oblivion Verses,” Dominique Wellinski and Rene Ballesteros
Best Short Film: “Gros chagrin,” Céline Devaux

Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film: “Custody,” Xavier Legrand

Best Documentary on Cinema: “The Prince and the Dybbuk,” Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski
Best Restored Film: “Come and See”