Michael Shannon, ‘Shape of Water’ villain, watches Oscars at Chicago dive bar

Michael Shannon has a major role in the Oscar-winning "The Shape of Water" but he didn't attend the Academy Awards when the film won for best motion picture. He opted for one of his favorite Chicago bars, where the TV's sound wasn't even turned up. | Bruce Elliot Twitter

Michael Shannon didn’t dress up for the Oscars.

He wore a puffy coat and sat on a barstool at the Old Town Ale House, one of his favorite Chicago hangouts.

From this angle — and with the juke box blaring and sub-titles flashing across the television screen behind the bar — he watched his colleagues from the film “The Shape of Water” win best picture.

In the film, Shannon plays Richard Strickland, the villain who captures and tortures the amphibian man.

It’s a major role, but he elected to skip Hollywood’s biggest awards show to attend the closing night of “Traitor” — a play he directed at A Red Orchid Theatre — which is located around the corner for the Old Town Ale House.

Shannon, who cut his acting teeth in Chicago, co-founded the theatre.

“It was great to have Mike here for closing performance of “Traitor” and an extra bonus to be with him when “Shape of Water” won,” Red Orchid Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald told the Sun-Times.

Reaching Shannon for a first-hand account of the magical moment in one of Chicago’s most legendary dive bars might be challenging, Fitzgerald said.

“He is shooting outside the country right now,” she said.

Ale House owner Bruce Elliot posted a picture and a note about the Oscar moment on Twitter.

“Michael Shannon watching the film he starred in, “Shape of Water,” win best picture while sitting in the Old Town Ale House. No sound on the TV, just sub-titles. Of course the juke box was rocking, and the beer flowing. Where else would you want to spend Oscar night?”

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