Friday 14 February 2014

A Plea for The Wind Rises to Win the Oscar

With the Oscars right around the corner, we are all being bogged down with promotional petitions and stunts on who should win Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and on and on. Some of these promotional petitions may be re-releases, special Q&A screenings, or even sing-along versions of the films. And while I'm sure most people regard the Oscars as the ultimate authority on what merits recognition in the world of motion pictures, there has been more than one occasion where the Oscar has been awarded to what can only be regarded as the most popular film of the year, rather than the best film in the category. Unfortunately, I fear this may be another such year where the film that merits the award for Best Animated Feature will be cast aside for the more popular film of the nominations.

I'm sure it won't come as a surprise after the articles I've posted on the Rotoscopers website regarding Frozen, that I would not be supporting that film as the best choice for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars this year. It should go without saying that even though I am the official Studio Ghibli writer on A113Animation, I am not one to play favorites to any one studio because of their legacy or popularity. That being said, I have had the opportunity to view all of this year's nominations with the exception of Ernest & Celestine.

That aside, The Wind Rises is definitely the most complete, well-rounded film on the nominations list, though admittedly a little heavy in content material. Though personally I see that as another reason why it deserves the award over the other films.

In addition to what I said in my glowing eview of the film, I feel The Wind Rises is a testament to what we as animation lovers have argued for so long: Animation is much more than child's play, it is skilful art that deserves to be respected on the same level as all live-action films. The Wind Rises took 8 years to complete, and it covers some of the most emotional material known to the human experience. Love, passion, loss and ambition are among the topics covered in the film, and each topic is dealt with in a manner that is sensitive and poignant to human nature, thereby pushing the limitations of what it means to be an animated film. Some could argue that Frozen does the same thing, but the difference here is that The Wind Rises leaves you with a much more real depiction of what life tends to be: yes, romantic, big, fulfilling, but also slightly disappointing and, thereby, much more real.

The last thing to consider is, what makes an Oscar film Oscar-worthy? An Oscar winner, in my opinion, should not only be the best film of the bunch, but also the best film it could possibly be, transcending cultures, time, and making a statement about the human condition, all while pushing the boundaries of art. And while I do not believe The Wind Rises was the best film Hayao Miyazaki ever made, it is still a film to recognize as close to perfection.

The Wind Rises will stand the test of time, it makes us question morality and love, and it pushes us to think beyond our current realm of reality to what the possibilities of life could be. For these reasons, and many more, The Wind Rises and Hayao Miyazaki deserve the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.


  1. As much as I like Wind Rises,I don't think its going to win. The Oscars tend to play favourites towards alot of things. For example,they gave Brave the oscar because it was pixar despite it being kinda weak compared to the competition that year.

    Besides, Hayao Miyazaki had his chance to collect the oscar, it was called Spirited Away.

  2. As I stated before, I don't really care who wins the Oscar, but it certainly wouldn't be a scandal if The Wind Rises gets it.

    I wouldn't say it's better (or not as good, for that matter) than Frozen. It's just a different taste, another feel. More adult, grounded and complex. Much more real, as you said Mayra.

    I enjoyed Frozen more, but that doesn't mean The Wind Rises isn't as important. It probably is more vital to have films like this in animation: we have dozens of animated movies trying to accomplish what Frozen did every year. They just don't succeed at it every time (i.e. The Croods). But films like The Wind Rises are pretty rare, so it'd be nice to see more of them.

    In the end, I don't think an Oscar win would change anything. It's just down to the audience. Big audience means more confidence in a more adult animation in the upcoming years.

    But yes, Frozen is probably going to win.

  3. What a coincidence! I've seen all the nominees except for The Wind Rises haha! I think your article is really well written but I can't comment since I haven't seen the film yet. However, Miyazaki has never disappointed me so I'm sure this film is fantastic. I love Frozen but if The Wind Rises wins, that'll be great too.

  4. I understand Miyazaki already won for Spirited Away (which is his best film in my opinion), but I hate the notion that each company or director "deserves" one Oscar...or rather I've heard a lot of people say that Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings should have gotten an award (they didn't really care which) simply because it was the end of the series. I feel like many would argue that because this is Miyazaki's last feature film he "deserves" the oscar, but my reasons are different.

    I just think the award should go to the best film of the bunch, and for me that was The Wind Rises. I understand it may be different for other people.

    But yes, the Oscars have always been skewed so I'm not holding my breath by any accounts.

  5. A bit weird comparing The Wind Rises to Frozen. More like complete opposites. Of course The Wind Rises has more passionate themes. It was targeted for mostly adults with a PG-13 rating unlike Miyazaki's work before. Frozen's more accessible for children (but not limited to obviously). The Wind Rises is also dense in Japanese culture and portrays it realistically for the most part. Frozen's setting is an Scandivnavian inspired fairytale. Just...a little weird to be comparing these two just because they're both nominees.