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Spirited Away Captures Oscar

posted on by Jonathan Mays
Film becomes first Japanese animated feature to win an Oscar

Sunday night at the 75th Annual Academy Awards, Spirited Away captured the “Best Animated Film” award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film prevailed against the competition of four other nominees: Ice Age, Lilo and Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Treasure Planet.

The award was accepted by the academy with no speech. Both Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki were unable to attend the ceremony.

On Feburary 11th, Spirited Away became the first Japanese animated feature to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Film.” Despite grossing only $5.55 million since its limited release on Sept. 20th, the film received almost universal praise from critics.

Winning the Oscar marks the zenith of the film's long string of awards. Spirited Away's previous awards include Best Film at the 2001 Japanese Academy Awards, Best Animated Feature (among other awards) at the 2002 Annie Awards, Best Animated Feature from Critics' Awards in New York and Los Angeles, Best Asian Film at the 2002 Hong Kong Film Awards, and Best Film at the Cinekid 2002 International Children's Film Festival.

An April DVD release is currently planned for the film, but its theatrical run could receive a significant boost from the award. Spirited Away's mainstream potential is promising; in an interview last month with the New York Times, Buena Vista marketing president Oren Aviv stated, "Once the results are in for the Oscars, we, of course, will take another look at releasing [Spirited Away]."

In a night overshadowed by military actions in Iraq, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences proceeded with the awards show. Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, stated that it was especially important to proceed with the cultural event at a time that American values were being questioned around the world.

Anime News Network will follow and report reactions to Spirited Away's Oscar win, as well as the status of a possible expansion of the theatrical release.

This article has a follow-up: Spirited Away: Early Oscar Reaction (2003-03-24 20:01)
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