Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s latest semi-autobiographical film wins best animated feature at the US film award.
Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” on last week won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature, making the legendary animator the first Japanese to take home the award. Established since 2007, the Golden Globe Award is considered a prelude to the Oscars.
Written and directed by Miyazaki, the movie has been well-received internationally. In North America, it topped the box office charts on the first weekend of its release, in December, and is already Studio Ghibli’s highest-grossing film in the region.
“The Boy and the Heron,” the long-awaited animated fantasy from the director of “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and other cherished anime classics, is only the third anime to ever top the box office in U.S. and Canadian theaters, and the first original anime to do so.
“The Boy and the Heron” for years was expected to be Miyazaki’s swan song. But just as it was making its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2023, Junichi Nishioka, Studio Ghibli vice president, said the previously retired Miyazaki has begun working toward another film.
In 2013, Miyazaki, 83, announced his retirement from producing feature films, changed his mind and then spent seven years making the semiautobiographical fantasy about a boy who lost his biological mother and was evacuated during World War II.
According to a CNN reportage in September 2023, the iconic Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli was sold to Nippon TV after failing to find a successor for its legendary co-founder and director Hayao Miyazaki.
Additionally stating that Nippon TV will “permanently protect Studio Ghibli’s ‘craftsmanship’ and brand values,” and “intends to honor Studio Ghibli’s autonomy” so it can “focus on filmmaking.” Under the new arrangement, Nippon TV will become the largest Ghibli shareholder with 42.3% of the voting rights.
The film, featuring an English dub voice cast including Robert Pattinson, Christian Bale, Dave Bautista and Mark Hamill, follows a boy who, after her mother perishes in a World War II bombing, is led by a mysterious heron to a portal that takes him to a fantastical realm. In Japan, its title translates to “How Do You Live?”
“The Boy and the Heron” earlier collected $56 million in Japan despite zero promotion. Studio Ghibli opted to release the film without production stills, trailers, ads or billboards.
His 2001 epic “Spirited Away” brought him international fame, grossing a record-breaking $274 million worldwide and winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
Throughout this year, all 10 of Miyazaki’s films with Ghibli were rereleased in theaters by GKIDS, which was founded in 2008 as way to bring ambitious animation to wider audiences.
Composer Joe Hisaishi, who created the music for “The Boy and the Heron,” was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for best original score, but that went to Ludwig Goransson for his work on the film “Oppenheimer.”
Under the Ghibli name, The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka stores its largest collections of Ghibli films and characters under one roof.
Edited by Monica Tong