Ghibli Director Isao Takahata Declines to Join Oscar Academy
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Director and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata declined his invitation from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last Thursday. According to a source connected to the matter, Takahata cited "being too busy at work" as the reason for his refusal.
The Academy extended the invitation to Takahata last June, after honoring the director with an Oscar nomination for his most recent work, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, at the 87th Academy Awards. He attended the awards ceremony last February with the film's producer Yoshiaki Nishimura.
The Academy recently announced new membership rules to promote diversity in its ranks, after this year's nominations led to a backlash against the perceived lack of diversity among nominees. The Academy nominated Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Studio Ghibli's When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie) anime film for the Animated Feature Film category this year.
Takahata had a long career directing such classics as Little Norse Prince Valiant (Taiyō no Ōji - Hols no Daibōken), Alps no Shōjo Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables before he co-founded Studio Ghibli with Hayao Miyazaki. He went on to create the feature films Grave of the Fireflies, Only Yesterday, Pom Poko, and My Neighbors the Yamadas.
The Academy invited Miyazaki at least four previous times, and it also invited studio co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki in 2014. Miyazaki's Spirited Away film won an Oscar in 2003, and he personally came to Los Angeles to accept his Honorary Academy Award in 2014.
Composer Joe Hisaishi (Spirited Away, Departures), a frequent collaborator on Miyazaki's films, was invited in 2013. Kunio Katō was invited in 2009 after becoming only the second Japanese animator to win an Oscar with his "La Maison en Petits Cubes" ("Tsumiki no Ie" or House of Blocks) short.