The Oscars are three months away, but the hype surrounding the awards is already starting to emerge. The animation department recently belted out its potential nominees, including a decent six anime films.
The list is:
- A Whisker Away
- Demon Slayer: Mugen Train
- Earwig and the Witch
- Lupin III: The First
- On-Gaku: Our Sound
- Ride Your Wave
No news has yet to surface on what will actually be nominated, or if any of them will be at all. That being said, there are two obvious bets I’m willing to make here. Considering its overwhelming popularity, I’d say it’s safe to put a few chips down on Demon Slayer: Mugen Train. Earwig and the Witch comes at a very close second place considering how its creator is the son of the most recognizable anime director ever. Lupin III: The First might not get the nod it deserves, but it’s pretty great to see it on the list here since it shows that someone in the Academy has an appreciation for anime history.
That being said, the Academy has been notorious for overlooking big anime films that do not have the Studio Ghibli brand attached to it. And even then, that is up in the air. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away would win in 2002 and is so far the only anime film to win the Oscar. Howl’s Moving Castle would be nominated three years later, only to lose to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Studio Chizu’s Mirai would break tradition in 2018, but fell short to the surprisingly well-animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
And then, you have the films that should have unquestionably been nominated but were completely overlooked. 2017 saw Kyoto Animation’s A Silent Voice being completely disregarded to make way for, of all things, The Boss Baby, which sparked outrage from KyoAni fans and sarcastic memes from others. 2018 would have the most anime titles up for nominations these past five years, one of which was Masaaki Yuasa’s The Night is Short, Walk on Girl, as well as another Kyoto Animation feature, the brilliant Liz and the Blue Bird. 2019 might have been the most egregious of all: Promare, with all of its Studio Trigger zaniness and magic, was unrightfully glossed over in exchange for safer bets like How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Toy Story 4.
2020 was the year of Soul and Onward, and if history has proven anything, it’s that anything Disney and Pixar make is the most likely to get Oscar gold. This is rather cynical of me to say, but unfortunately we still live in a society where animation is still regarded as children’s entertainment (oh, and the huge box office bucks those films draw in helps things). However, considering anime’s continuing and exponential rise into the mainstream, I’d like to think that the medium has a better chance of getting more nods by the Academy in the future.