Animator Hayao Miyazaki Wins First Golden Globe at the Age of 82 for ‘The Boy and the Heron’

Hayao Miyazaki Wins First Golden Globe at 82

Hayao Miyazaki in 2012. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0 DEED)

Merging meticulous craftsmanship and dreamy storytelling has cemented Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki as an animation legend. From My Neighbor Totoro to Howl's Moving Castle, his carefully made films have transported viewers for decades. Although he has frequently thought about retirement, Miyazaki returned to work for his final feature and, after seven years in the making, released The Boy and the Heron. The film topped the box offices in North America—a first for original anime films—and was recently awarded a Golden Globe.

This achievement marks the first Golden Globe for not only 82-year-old Miyazaki, but also the first such award for Studio Ghibli, the first for a non-English animated feature, and the first for distributer GKIDS Films. The Boy and the Heron is a fantasy movie that is loosely inspired by Miyazaki's own life, following the story of a young boy who moves to the Japanese countryside after his mother's death and encounters a talking heron who says that his mother is still alive. Miyazaki himself grew up towards the tail-end of World War II, and lost his mother to tuberculosis at a young age. The Boy and the Heron competed against other 2023 animated films for the Golden Globe Award, including Disney's Elemental and Wish, as well as Spider Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Neither Miyazaki nor other members of Studio Ghibli attended the ceremony in Los Angeles, but producer Toshio Suzuki posted a message on X (Twitter). “Since the beginning of the year,” he wrote, “Japan has been hit by a series of tragic earthquakes and accidents. When I hear the reports of many people still waiting for rescue in the disaster areas, I am filled with a sense of despair. In such a situation, I hope the bright news of winning an award can bring a smile to everyone’s face, even if only a little.”

While this is Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's first Golden Globe, their other work was recognized in the past with Spirited Away winning an Oscar in 2001 and The Wind Rises receiving a Golden Globe nomination in 2013. Spirited Away—which tells the story of a young girl who enters the spirit world—remains the most successful film of all time in Japan, and is considered one of Miyazaki's best films. He also directed other well-known Studio Ghibli productions with similar anti-war and environmentalist themes, like the fantasy film Princess Mononoke (1997), the fantasy romance Howl's Moving Castle (2004), and The Little Mermaid-inspired movie Ponyo (2008).

The Golden Globe Award is often a prediction of the Oscars in February, so hopefully Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli's work will receive further recognition for their storytelling and craftsmanship.

Studio Ghibli co-founder, animator, and director Hayao Miyazaki won his first Golden Globe at the age of 82 for The Boy and the Heron.

It is the first Golden Globe Award for Studio Ghibli and the first time a non-English animated film has won.

Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer of The Boy and the Heron wrote a statement about how he hopes the film brings comfort to those affected by Japan's recent earthquakes.

h/t: [Reddit]

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. She wrote and illustrated an instructional art book about how to draw cartoons titled 'Cartooning Made Easy: Circle, Triangle, Square' that was published by Walter Foster in 2022.
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