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‘The Boy and the Heron’ Delivers Hayao Miyazaki His Second Oscar

Legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki received his second Academy Award on Sunday, for his semi-autobiographical “The Boy and the Heron,” which won the category for best animated feature. At age 83, he’s also the oldest director to receive this award.

He previously won the category for his 2001 fantasy “Spirited Award.” He accepted an Honorary Academy Award in 2014. Today’s win also marks the second Academy Award for his Japan-based Studio Ghibli as well as the first to be released domestically by indie distributor GKIDS (“The Boy and the Heron” was the distributor’s 13th movie to be nominated in the category; others included “The Breadwinner,” “My Life as a Zucchini” and “Wolfwalkers.”)

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Prior to making “The Boy and the Heron,” Miyazaki had announced his retirement and then surprised the animation world when he decided he wanted to make this film, which also won the Golden Globe and BAFTA.

He and producer Toshio Suzuki were not in attendance to accept the award at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday. Said Studio Ghibli COO Kiyofumi Nakajima in a statement on behalf of Suzuki: “This film began with director Hayao Miyazaki retracting his retirement statement. Following that, we spent seven years in the production of this work. It has been ten years since Hayao Miyazaki’s previous film, ‘The Wind Rises,’ during which time there have been dramatic changes in the environment surrounding films. This film was truly difficult to bring to completion.

“I am very appreciative that the work that was created after overcoming these difficulties has been seen by so many people around the world, and that it has received this recognition,” he continued. “Both Hayao Miyazaki and I have aged a considerable amount. I am grateful to receive such an honor at my age, and taking this as a message to continue our work, I will devote myself to work harder in the future.”

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