Photo: YouTube/東宝MOVIEチャンネル

'Weathering with You' anime submitted for Best International Film Oscar

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Anime director Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering with You, his first film since "your name.", has earned over 10 billion yen at the Japanese box office since its July release, and is already in the top 10 highest-grossing domestically produced films in Japan. The story of teen runaway Hodaka and magical, weather-controlling Tokyo girl Hina has also resonated with audiences and critics, who have been showering the rainy-days tale with praise.

Now "Weathering with You" has a shot on adding Oscar honor to its critical and financial success. The new Shinkai anime has been designated as Japan’s submission for the Best International Feature Film category for the 92nd Academy Awards, which will be handed out in February 2020. Entries for the category, which is a renaming of the previous Best Foreign Language Film award, must originate in a country other than the U.S. and have the majority of their dialogue in a language other than English.

The Best Foreign Language Film category was established in 1947, and Japan was initially something of a powerhouse, winning three awards by 1955, for "Rashomon," "Gate of Hell" and "Samurai, The Legend of Musashi." However, after Musashi’s win in 1955, Japan went through more than a half-century drought, with its next, as currently most recent, win in the category not coming until "Departures/Okuribito" in 2008.

"Weathering with You’s" submission is significant in a number of ways. First, despite being the highest internationally grossing anime film of all time, "your name." didn’t get so much as a nomination for the Oscars’ Best Animated Feature award, and die-hard Shinkai fans have been waiting three years for greater recognition of the director’s artistic merits. Secondly, "Weathering with You" is only the second anime movie ever to be submitted for the Best International Film/Best Foreign Language Film category, and the first in over 20 years, with the only other member of that group being Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki’s original intended-retirement film, "Princess Mononoke," for the 1998 Academy Awards (Miyazaki’s "Spirited Away," the only anime so far to win an Oscar, did so in the Best Animated Feature category in 2003, submitted in its English-dubbed version).


On one hand, consideration in the Best International Film category means that "Weathering with You" won’t be in competition with films from Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, or other U.S. studios whose works fall much more in line with what Oscar voters expect from animated content. Such a discrepancy was likely at least a contributing factor in why anime Best Animated Feature contenders "When Marnie Was There," "The Tale of the Princes Kaguya" and "Mirai" went home from the Oscar ceremony empty-handed, and with "Toy Story 4," "The Lion King," "How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World," "The Lego Movie 2" and the upcoming "Frozen 2" all releasing this year, odds are the Academy already has its hearts and minds filled with examples of what it thinks an animated movie should be, giving "Weathering with You" little to no chance of winning the Best Animated Feature award.

But on the other hand, live-action films and documentaries are also eligible for the Best International Film category, and it’s likely that works in those formats will be seen as more authentic, socially relevant, and respective of their country-of-origin cultures, giving "Weathering with You" a different but equally difficult set of challenges in the Best International Film category. There’s also the fact that as of right now, Shinkai’s new anime is only a submission for the award, one of dozens from which the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Committee will select five official finalist nominees.

For the time being, though, being chosen as Japan’s representative is still quite an honor for "Weathering with You", and here’s hoping the English-subtitled version of the film prepared for Academy members’ consideration avoids the sort of hilariously clunky translation hiccups that "your name." had.

Source: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Your Name director Makoto Shinkai, other anime creators invited to join Oscar Academy

-- Anime hit Your Name to get Academy Award-qualifying U.S. theatrical run this year

-- Hayao Miyazaki to receive honorary lifetime achievement Oscar

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Was submitted before even being released. I will reserve my sound judgement when I actually see the film myself, instead of riding on the wave of past grandeur together with the mass.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

It was okay but a bit of a stretch to receive that award.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If there's one thing Japan does right, it's anime.... and horror. Not sure it deserves the honor this time around, but can't hurt to try.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oscar, as well as other "prizes" such as the Nobel, are overrated and don't really tell anything about the quality of the nominated and chosen work/person.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Best Foreign Film has to be submitted the year it's released in its original country, but foreign Best Animated Film contenders are given an extra year from original release date to be eligible for the next-next Oscars, provided they do the Los Angeles county qualifying run that 2nd year.

So technically, Japan can submit Weathering With You for the 2019 Best Foreign Film Oscars, and then animation distributor GKids can submit it again for the 2020 Best Animated Film Oscars.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not another anime involving a young girl and magic. This theme seems to be recycled year after year.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You say it as if you understand the matter and the extent of "recycling" present. I do not respect it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

who watches that and why?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )


Except it isn't, unless we're talking about very speicific anime series (not movies) with, mostly, fanservice in mind.

@John Richardson

With that mindset, why spend time on any piece of entertainment...? Anime exists because it allows storytellers to tell stories that aren't confined by the real world's limitations. Putting the fanservicey stuff aside, there have been amazing anime works that are works of art from a storytelling and artistic standpoint, and have influenced a lot of people working in the industry, including western people, which I'm sure you consider superior.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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