Miyazaki to take on Disney, Universal and DreamWorks at Oscars

The Wind Rises

The day has finally arrived – the Academy has announced the slate of films that have received nominations for this year’s 86th Academy Awards. A total of three anime works were submitted for consideration for the Animated Feature Film category: A Letter to Momo, Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion and The Wind Rises. Out of the nineteen films submitted for consideration, only five of them would be receiving a nomination and we finally know which five they are:

  • Despicable Me 2 (Universal Pictures)
  • Ernest & Celestine (Cinéart)
  • Frozen (Disney)
  • The Croods (DreamWorks Studios)
  • The Wind Rises (Toho)

Hayao Miyazaki’s final feature film is a fictionalised biography about Jiro Horikoshi, the inventor of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter plane and his romance with Naoko, a woman suffering from tuberculosis. The movie has courted critical acclaim, having picked up Best Animated Feature awards from a number of awarding bodies including the New York Critics Circle, Toronto Film Critics Association as well as nominations for the Golden Globes and New York Film Festival among others. However, it has also attracted controversy due to the film’s focus on the creator of what would become one of Japan’s most effective killing machines in World War 2.

The film will no doubt face some fierce competition, particularly from Disney’s Frozen (which is most likely a favourite to win) and Despicable Me 2.

Previously, Miyazaki’s Spirited Away became the first foreign feature to win the Animated Feature Film category in the 76th Academy Awards in 2003 and Howl’s Moving Castle received a nomination in 2005.

Sunrise’s short film Possessions, which was directed by Shuhei Morita has also earned a nomination for the Animated Short Film Category.


The Dark Knight Rises’ Gordon-Levitt leads The Wind Rises English cast

Wind Rises

Do you remember Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played John Blake from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises – The young police officer who would later tease fans by revealing at the end of the film that his legal name is Robin? Or maybe you recognise him from recent romantic comedy Don Jon? Either way though, he is one of Hollywood’s biggest names at the moment (currently being rumoured for just about every role out there. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was even rumoured for the role of Wonder Woman at one point).

Anyway, early this morning, Studio Ghibli revealed that this hot property will be leading a star studded English cast for Hayao Miyazaki’s final theatrical feature, the Golden Globe nominated historical fantasy film The Wind Rises, where he will be voicing Jiro Horikoshi, a young man who dreams of building aeroplanes.

He isn’t the only big name on the bill though. The Devil Wears Prada and upcoming Edge of Tomorrow (formally known as All You Need is Kill) actress Emily Blunt will be starring alongside him as the terminally ill love interest Nahoko. Emily Brunt also brings some of her family along for the trip as well, with husband John Krasinski (The OfficeMonster’s University) being cast as the aircraft designer Honyo, as well as her brother-in-law Stanley Tucci (Captain America: The First AvengerThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire), who will be providing the voice for Giovanni Caproni, the Italian plane designer.

Emily Blunt has called this film the director’s most complex film to date and was quite poignant when reflecting on her character, stating: “It’s that dreamlike idea of thinking for one’s self. My character represents that idea, that purity of dreaming for a better world, and that’s partly because she knows she hasn’t got long in this world.” She later adds ” ‘We must live’ is a line audiences will hear in the movie and it’s through our losses and our accomplishments, as if we’re emboldened by our dreams, that we must live. That’s a really deep message for a lot of people.”

The full English cast, as reported by USA Today, is as follows:

Joseph Gordon-Levitt — Jiro Horikoshi
Emily Blunt — Nahoko Satomi

John Krasinski — Honjo
Martin Short — Kurokawa
Stanley Tucci — Caproni
Mandy Patinkin — Hattori
William H. Macy — Satomi
Werner Herzog — Castorp
Mae Whitman — Kayo
Jennifer Grey — Mrs. Kurokawa
Darren Criss — Katayama
Elijah Wood — Sone
Ronan Farrow — Mitsubishi employee

Studio Ghibli is no stranger for having big names, or even actors from previous Batman movies starring in their movies, with Porco Rosso starring Michael Keaton (Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman and Batman Returns) in the titular role and The Dark Knight trilogy’s Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman) was the lead in Howl’s Moving Castle.


Studio Ghibli to animate “When Marnie Was There”




Annie lives with foster parents and doesn’t have a friend in the world. When she is sent away to stay with the elderly Mr. and Mrs. Pegg she comes across a house she feels she recognises, the Marsh House and a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend before she mysteriously vanishes one day. A new family, the Lindsays move into the Marsh House and Anna uses her experiences with Marnie to befriend the new family, but soon she begins to learn some bizarre truths about Marnie, who may not be all she seemed.

After 2010’s absolutely stunning Arrietty, an adaptation of Mary Norton’s classic The Borrowers, Studio Ghibli director Hiromasa Yonebayashi is returning to direct an anime feature film adaptation of a British classic once more, with Joan G. Robison’s When Marnie Was There being slated for a 2014 release by distributor TOHO, making it the studio’s 19th feature film following Hayao Miyazaki’s final film The Wind Rises and Isao Takahata’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguyawhich were both released earlier this year.

It goes without saying that I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan (with The Cat Returns and Whisper of the Heart ranking among my favourite movies of all time), I felt that Arrietty was a fantastic directorial debut for Yonebayashi, who had worked on previous films as an animator. With the announcement of Hayao Miyazaki’s retirement from feature films earlier this year and with the other studio co-founder Isao Takahata being beyond the typical retirement age himself, the company is obviously looking for people to carry on the legendary torches into the future – if When Marnie Was There is anything like Arrietty, then Yonebayashi will definitely be one to keep an eye on.