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Director Hayao Miyazaki acknowledged that he did not accept his Best Animated Feature Oscar for Spirited Away in person in 2003 because of the Iraq War. The Studio Ghibli co-founder told the Los Angeles Times newspaper's blog during Comic-Con International on Friday, "The reason I wasn't here for the Academy Award was because I didn't want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq. At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don't see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling."
Miyazaki added that he decided to come to America six years later as a favor to his longtime friend, Pixar and Disney chief creative officer (and fellow Oscar-winning director) John Lasseter. "I thought I had to respond to my friendship with John Lasseter and come this time," Miyazaki said.