Tough road awaits ‘Howl’ for Oscar
Last Tuesday's announcement of Academy Award nominations held a treat for anime fans.
Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli made it 2-for-2 in nominations for the best animated feature Oscar when "Howl's Moving Castle" was picked as one of the contenders for this year's award. The last Miyazaki film to be nominated in the category, "Spirited Away," won the award in 2003.
But can "Howl" add a second Oscar to Miyazaki's awards shelf? I'm not really sure. "Spirited Away" had a somewhat strong "Lilo & Stitch" and the weaker "Treasure Planet," "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" and "Ice Age" to contend with. This year's crop, which includes the critically acclaimed "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride" and "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit," can't be dismissed as easily.
"Wallace & Gromit" filmmaker Nick Park also has been an Oscar darling, with three Oscars coming out of four nominations in the best animated short category.
And then there's the "X" factor: Will voters view "Howl" as favorably as they did "Spirited Away"?
A fair argument could be made that "Howl," while a good film in its own right, wasn't as much the imaginative tour-de-force that "Spirited Away" was.
So what do you think? Which of this year's animated feature nominees do you think will win, and why? E-mail me with your thoughts, and I'll print a selection toward the end of this month ...
In Sunday's 'D&Q'
It's another potential Rumiko Takahashi classic series in the making ... if only she would take some time out from writing "Inu-Yasha" to finish it. Our monthly "Project T" miniseries rolls on with my look at "One-Pound Gospel," in Sunday's Today section.
Cel Shaded, a look at the world of Japanese anime and manga, appears every Monday. Reach Jason S. Yadao