Oscars: Japan Celebrates Double Anime Nominations

The Wind Rises Poster - P 2013

With Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" and Shuhei Morita's "Possessions" both up for Academy Awards, Japan will be hoping for a repeat of its 2009 double triumph.

TOKYO – Japan awoke Friday morning to the news that it had secured two Oscar nominations for anime films, Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises for animated feature film and Shuhei Morita's Possessions (Tsukumo) in the animated short film category.

“I think it is a huge honor for my retirement work, The Wind Rises, to be nominated in the Oscars' best animated feature film category. To be so valued overseas is a great honor for the entire staff involved in this work,” wrote Miyazaki in a statement.

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The Wind Rises, which Miyazaki has said was his last feature, became the highest grossing film in Japan in 2013 by taking $116.1 million (11.6 billion yen). It could earn the anime master another Oscar. Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) won the best animated feature Oscar in 2002, and remains the biggest Japanese box office hit of all time with 30.4 billion yen -- $304 million at today’s exchange rates.

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Morita's Possessions, in which a ragged-looking samurai takes shelter in a shrine inhabited by mischievous spirits, is reminiscent of some of the fantastical scenes in Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

“Awards for short films are rare in Japan, so I’m particularly pleased to get nominated for the Academy Awards,” Morita told reporters in Japan.

The last time Japan was nominated for two Oscars was in 2009, when Yojiro Takita's Departures (Okuribito) took the foreign language film award, while Kunio Kato's La Maison en Petits Cubes (Tsumiki no ie) won for best animated short film.

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