Every Animated Movie Ever Nominated for an Oscar
Japanese animation is a powerful industry that needs no introduction, especially in fandom spaces. But despite its massive cultural impact and undeniable artistic heights, anime films and shorts coming out of Japanese studios still struggle to get the recognition they deserve in Western festival awards and circuits – and the Oscars in particular. are a great example. The Best Animated Feature Oscar has been around since 2001, for a total of 89 titles, including winners and nominees. Only seven of those 89 movies were produced in Japan, and only one of those seven won Best Animated Feature (but what a win that was and what a movie).
It’s even worse for the Best Animated Short category, which has been around since the 1930s and has so far only had three Japanese productions, and again, only one winner. Hopefully this trend will change soon – slowly but surely both categories have begun to include more of the world beyond English-speaking countries in their candidate lists. It’s a slow process that often comes to a halt in Europe (this year’s Best Animated Feature nominees include four American productions and one Danish), sure, but you can always think positive. In the meantime, here’s a comprehensive list of every animated movie that’s ever figuratively “walked the red carpet” at the Oscars, including the two that brought home that little golden statue.
Produced by Studio Chizu and directed by Mamoru Hosoda, Mirai (its original Japanese titlesMirai not Miraimore correctly translates to “Mirai of the Future”), was the last animated film to be nominated for an Oscar in 2018, where it lost to the admittedly incredible Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.
The only non-Western film of its year, Mirai tells the story of a little boy, Kun, whose parents have just had a second child – a girl named Mirai whom Kun doesn’t like very much since all attention is now centered on her. As he tramples through the garden to sulk one day, he discovers that he can somehow travel both in the past and in the future, where he meets several people from his family – his granddaughter mother, her great-grandfather, even an adult-up Mirai. All of these encounters will help Kun finally accept Mirai as his little sister, in a highly acclaimed and moving story.
The Red Turtle, 2016
The red turtle was in the running for the award for best animated film at the 89and Academy Awards, which crowned Disney’s zootopia as winner. The film was a co-production between Studio Ghibli, represented by producer Toshio Suzuki, and several French companies – its director was Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
The story of The red turtle follows a man stranded on a desert island after a shipwreck. There, he meets the titular Red Turtle, who reveals herself as a red-haired woman with whom the man will share his life. It’s a very moving film, especially since there is absolutely no dialogue.
When Marnie Was There, 2015
Studio Ghibli When Marnie Was Here was in the running for the award for best animated film at the 88and Oscars for the 2015 film season. The Oscar finally went to Pixar Upside downcorn When Marnie Was Heredirected by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, marked another international success for Studio Ghibli, which is arguably the most recognized and beloved Japanese animation house in the world.
The film, based on the 1967 novel of the same name, follows 12-year-old Anna Sasaki as she moves to the seaside in Hokkaido after a doctor’s recommendation – there she meets the mysterious Marnie, with whom she spends most of the summer and that will help her realize herself and her story.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya, 2014
Another Studio Ghibli production, The Story of Princess Kaguya is based on a popular 10and Japanese literary tale of the century and follows the story of Kaguya, who was found by a bamboo cutter inside a bamboo shoot and after a series of adventures and discoveries, eventually leaves Earth to return to his real home on the Moon.
The Story of Princess Kaguya, directed by Isao Takahata, features a somewhat different style of animation than what is “typical of Studio Ghibli” – a feature that only serves to make the film more compelling (and possibly more expensive, as it is the Japanese production with the biggest budget for Date). It was in the running for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at 87and Academy Awards but lost the golden statue to Disney Big Hero 6.
The Wind Rises, 2013
The early 2010s animated film nomination streak began at 86and Academy Awards, which reviewed the 2013 film season for their nominees, along with Studio Ghibli’s The wind picks up. The highest-grossing Japanese film of the year and recipient of nominations left and right, The wind picks up was directed by none other than Hayao Miyazaki himself – it was actually supposed to be his directorial farewell, but he’s since come out of retirement to direct How do you live?which will probably be released in 2023.
The film follows Jiro Horikoshi, who was the actual engineer behind many of the fighter planes used by Japan during World War II. Although it caused some controversy when it was released, The wind picks up achieved incredible success both at home and abroad, but still lost the Oscar to the Disney blockbuster and versatile pop culture phenomenon Frozen.
Possessions, directed by Shuhei Morita, is part of a larger media project called Short Peace which includes four short films (Possessions, Combustible, Gambo and A Farewell to Weapons) as well as a video game, but only Possessions made the list nominees for Best Animated Short at the 86th Academy Awards, where it lost the statue to Mr. Hublot. The short follows the story of a lonely traveler who spends the night in an abandoned shrine, where he is soon visited by a vast array of spirits.
The House in Small Cubes, 2008
The title of best animated short film for a Japanese production arrived at 81st Oscars with The House in Little Cubesdirected by Kunio Katō, which tells the story of an old widower who is forced to add new levels to his home as his town is flooded with water – a process that will ultimately lead him to reflect on his long and hectic life.
Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle, 2005
Another striking production bearing the signature of Hayao Miyazaki, Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle is one of Ghibli’s great classics, as well as one of the most successful Japanese films of all time.and Academy Awards (where he ended up losing to DreamWorks Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit).
Based on the first book in the How trilogy by Dianna Wynne Jones, published in the 1980s, the film follows Sophie, who leaves her town and her hat shop after being cursed to look like an elderly woman by the terrible Witch of Trash. . Sophie seeks refuge in the moving castle of the Wizard Howl, who she will discover is much more than the conceited, dimwitted young man he appears to be. Howl’s Howl’s Moving Castle is also a powerful anti-war story as it was heavily influenced by Miyazaki’s opposition to the Iraq War, which was then in its infancy.
Mount Head, 2002
Directed by Koji Yamamura, Mount Head was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short at 75and Oscars, where he lost to The ChubbChubbs!. Based on a traditional Japanese rakugoi.e. a form of entertainment where a solitary storyteller tells a comedic story with very little help from props or scenery, Mount Head tells the story of a man who finds a tree growing out of his head after eating cherry pits.
Spirited Away, 2002
Studio Ghibli’s debut on the Oscars stage was done in style. Taken away as if by magicdirected by Hayao Miyazaki, was the absolute winner of the 75and Oscars, bringing home the statue for Best Animated Feature of 20and Century Fox Ice Ageby Disney Lilo & Stitch and treasure planetand DreamWorks’ Spirit: Cimarron Stallion– and it was only the second year since the introduction of the Best Animated Film category, which debuted the previous year essentially to prevent animated films from being nominated or winning the award. best film.
Taken away as if by magica great classic and universally considered one of the best films of the 21st century, follows the story of Chihiro, a ten-year-old girl who finds herself working in a bathhouse for the spirits in the world of the Kami after her parents are turned into pigs by a terrible witch – a bathhouse in which she will meet incredible characters like the dragon-boy Haku and the creature No-Face.
(photo: Studio Ghibli)
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