Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy And The Heron” Wins Academy Award® For Best Animated Feature

Author: Newsroom

NEW YORK (March 10, 2024) – GKIDS, the North American distributor and producer of multiple Academy Award-nominated animated films, is proud to announce Studio Ghibli’s latest, THE BOY AND THE HERON, as the winner of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Tonight’s achievement marks a second Academy Award for legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, who earned four previous nominations and won his first Oscar for Spirited Away (2003). He was also recognized at the 2014 Governors Awards with the Academy’s Honorary Award for his exceptional contributions to cinema.

Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away and THE BOY AND THE HERON are the only two hand-drawn films to win in the history of this category, which was established by the Academy in 2002. It is the first Oscar win for producer Toshio Suzuki, who previously earned three nominations. The win continues Studio Ghibli’s extraordinary Oscar run, which includes 7 total nominations, with 2 wins.

LUCKY 13 FOR GKIDS: This win marks the first as a company for GKIDS after 13 nominations in the Best Animated Feature category, including The Secret of Kells in 2010, A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012, Ernest & Celestine in 2014, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea in 2015, Boy and the World and When Marnie Was There in 2016, My Life as a Zucchini in 2017, The Breadwinner in 2018, Mirai in 2019 and Wolfwalkers in 2021.

THE BOY AND THE HERON is GKIDS’ highest-grossing release of its 16-year history and Studio Ghibli’s highest-grossing film in North America. To date, it has earned over $46 million at the North American box office, also hitting the milestone of highest-grossing original Japanese animated film of all time, domestically. Continuing its historic theatrical run of the film, GKIDS will add theaters in a North American re-release later this month, with details forthcoming.

From the Dolby Theater’s Hollywood stage, presenters Anya Taylor-Joy and Chris Hemsworth the win for THE BOY AND THE HERON and accepted the Oscars for Director/Screenwriter Miyazaki and Producer Suzuki, who remain in Japan. Backstage in Los Angeles, the film’s Executive Producer and Studio Ghibli COO, Kiyofumi Nakajima, read aloud the following statement on behalf of Oscar-winning producer Toshio Suzuki:

“As producer of The Boy and the Heron, I am extremely honored to receive the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Academy. I would also like to give my thanks to those who were involved in the production of this film, and to all those who worked to distribute the film worldwide. This film began with director Hayao Miyazaki retracting his retirement statement. Following that, we spent seven years in the production of this work. It has been ten years since Hayao Miyazaki’s previous film, The Wind Rises, during which time there have been dramatic changes in the environment surrounding films. This film was truly difficult to bring to completion. I am very appreciative that the work that was created after overcoming these difficulties has been seen by so many people around the world, and that it has received this recognition. Both Hayao Miyazaki and I have aged a considerable amount. I am grateful to receive such an honor at my age, and taking this as a message to continue our work, I will devote myself to work harder in the future.

Thank you very much.”

“This has been an incredible year for animation of all types, from all places,” said GKIDS CEO Eric Beckman and GKIDS President David Jesteadt, in celebratory reaction to the landmark win. “We are thankful to the Academy for recognizing this emotional masterwork from Hayao Miyazaki, and we are incredibly grateful to Studio Ghibli for their trust and friendship over the years. As longtime fans, it has been the honor of our lives to get to work with their films every day.”

With founder Isao Takahata’s passing in 2018, Miyazaki and Suzuki are the remaining original partners of the famed Japanese animation production company, Studio Ghibli. In addition to their Oscars for THE BOY AND THE HERON and Spirited Away, their fabled company has garnered a combined total of seven Academy Award nominations for the critically acclaimed Howl’s Moving Castle (dir. Miyazaki, released in 2004, nominated in 2006), The Wind Rises (dir. Miyazaki, prod. Suzuki, released in 2013, nominated in 2014), The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (dir. Takahata, prod. Yoshiaki Nishimura, released in 2013, nominated in 2015), When Marnie Was There (dir. Hiromasa Yonebayashi, prod. Nishimura, released in 2014, nominated in 2016) and The Red Turtle (dir. Michael Dudok de Wit, prod. Suzuki, released in 2016, nominated in 2017).

For more than a decade, GKIDS’ influence on cinema has redefined the perception of animation as an artistic medium on par with live-action film through its stewardship of the Studio Ghibli catalog and by introducing American audiences to the critically-acclaimed films of other master filmmakers from around the world such as Mamoru Hosoda (Mirai, Belle), Tomm Moore (The Secret of Kells, Wolfwalkers), Benjamin Renner (Ernest & Celestine), Makoto Shinkai (Weathering With You), Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner), Alberto Vázquez (Unicorn Wars) and Masaaki Yuasa (Inu-Oh, The Night is Short, Walk on Girl), among countless others.

GKIDS released THE BOY AND THE HERON in cinemas and IMAX nationwide on December 8, 2023, marking the first title in the Studio Ghibli catalog to be released in IMAX premium formats and opening at No. 1. The film was released in the U.S. in its original Japanese with English subtitles, as well as in a new English-language version featuring the voices of Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson and Florence Pugh.

THE BOY AND THE HERON made its international premiere at the Opening Night Gala of the 48th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Tickets to all five TIFF screenings sold out in record time and the film received glowing reviews, placing in the top three for the TIFF People’s Choice Awards. For Best Animated Feature, THE BOY AND THE HERON has won the BAFTA Award, the Golden Globe and several prestigious critics awards including the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Association honors. It was also recognized by the National Board of Review as a Top Film for 2023 and won two Annie Awards in 2024. In addition, THE BOY AND THE HERON Composer Joe Hisaishi garnered Best Score nominations from the Golden Globes and the Society of Composers and Lyricists, and was celebrated at this year’s Annie Awards with the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award.


After losing his mother during the war, young Mahito moves to his family’s estate in the countryside. There, a series of mysterious events lead him to a secluded and ancient tower, home to a mischievous gray heron. When Mahito’s new stepmother disappears, he follows the gray heron into the tower, and enters a fantastic world shared by the living and the dead. As he embarks on an epic journey with the heron as his guide, Mahito must uncover the secrets of this world, and the truth about himself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top