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Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata‘s The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo‘s The Dam Keeper will see Japan represented for the second year in a row in the best animated feature and best animated short categories.
Last year Hayao Miyazaki‘s final film The Wind Rises and Shuhei Morita‘s Possessions (Tsukumo) were nominated in the same two categories, though neither triumphed.
Takahata’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Kaguya no Monogatari) is the fourth time Studio Ghibli has been nominated, though the first for a non-Miyazaki production. Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) won the best animated feature Oscar in 2003.
Reaction in Japan to Princess Kaguya‘s nomination has been somewhat muted, with some surprise at the selection of a film that underperformed in its domestic market. Takahata’s animation will be up against Big Hero 6, which is currently at number one on the box office rankings and has already doubled Princess Kaguya’s final take with around $50 million after less than a month in theaters.
The Dam Keeper is the debut short from Japanese-born animator Tsutsumi and Japanese-American Kondo, who previously worked together at Pixar Animation Studios, where Tsutsumi was art director on Toy Story 3.
Tsutsumi, who has been California-based since the mid-90s, went to grade school with Miyazaki’s niece Mei, the inspiration for a character in the anime master’s My Neighbor Totoro, and the pair married in 2009.
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