It is that time of the year again where I get overly excited at the prospect of anime making a run in the Oscar season, chasing the dream of anime being recognized as the best in animation for that year over all the silly American kids’ movies. Yes it is hyperbolic way of thinking, but for me this is my sportsball group going up as the underdog.
The dream did become a reality though in 2002 with Studio Ghibli & Hayao Miyazaki’s film "Spirited Away" taking home the award, but aside from a Ghibli nomination in 2005 for another Miyazaki film “Howl’s Moving Castle” & the 2009 win in the Best Animated Short Film category by the brilliant art piece “La Maison en Petits Cubes” in 2008, anime has been scrubbed in the nominations.
In the past few years alone we have seen quite a few attempts make it to the short list for nominations, "From Up on a Poppy Hill" and "The Mystical Laws" failed to qualify last year. Funimation’s attempt with “Summer Wars” failed in 2010 while “Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0” missed its qualifying theater run by a month. Similarly passed over films that qualified were the late Mamoru Oshii’s final animated film “The Sky Crawlers” and Bones' “Sword of the Stranger”.
This year 3 anime films have qualified for nominations out of a total pool of 19 in the award ceremony. Probably the best shot at a possible nomination and win is “The Wind Rises” submitted by GKids being former winner Miyazaki’s final film after announcing that he was retiring earlier this year. Another Gkids submitted film is Production I.G.’s 2011 movie “A Letter to Momo”. The most surprising one to make the list is the Aniplex submitted and long awaited otaku favorite "Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion". The film which just opened in Japan a few weeks ago and will be making its premiere through the US and Canada on the weekend of December 6 in over 60 cities after an experimental limited run of the first two recap movies last year is by the far the most unconventional entry on the list and could be hindered by the fact that it is the third in a trilogy. It is strange not to see Funimation make a qualifying run with either its currently screening "Wolf Children" or upcoming release of "Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33" seeing their past interest in the awards.
Rules in the category may also lead to an advantage for nominations. This will be the fifth year that enough films have qualified to extend the nomination’s list to five which in the past has led to surprise runs. Another rule placed by the academy requires voters for nominations in the animated film category to have seen all participating films. While not an advantage, it elevates limited run films to an equal chance of earning a vote. All of this along with a weak field of the normally nominated American releases including a poor critical response to 7 time winners Pixar’s newest film has this looking like it may be the year for anime to shine.
This article was originally posted on my blog at: http://realjpoe.com/