LOS ANGELES – Renowned anime director Hayao Miyazaki received an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at a Hollywood ceremony Saturday for years of contributions to the motion picture industry.
Miyazaki, 73, is the second Japanese to win the Academy Honorary Award, after Akira Kurosawa in 1990.
He was awarded the Oscar statuette — the second for Miyazaki — during the ceremony. In 2003, he won the Oscar for best animated feature film for “Spirited Away.”
The event, where he was greeted with a standing ovation, was the first time Miyazaki had attended an Oscar awards ceremony.
John Lasseter, chief creative officer at Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, presented the Oscar to Miyazaki.
In his speech honoring Miyazaki, Lasseter cited Walt Disney first and Hayao Miyazaki second as the top contributors to the animation genre.
“Hayao Miyazaki has deeply influenced animation forever, inspiring generations of artists to work in our medium and illuminate its limitless potential,” said Lasseter. “In stature, in influence, in the range and quality of the body of his work, there will never be another to rival him.”
After receiving the award, Miyazaki said with a shy smile, “My wife told me I am a very lucky man.”
Miyazaki said the peaceful postwar years in Japan gave him a good environment to create his animation masterpieces.
“Our country has not fought in a war over the past fifty years (while I was working). This allowed us to work extra hard,” he said.
“I was very lucky to see the last time when you could make a movie with paper, pencil and film,” he added.
Retirement is all but an afterthought for the Oscar-winning director. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Miyazaki mentioned his current busy schedule, which includes working on a play area for children in Fukushima Prefecture, site of the ongoing nuclear crisis. As a hobby, he has been drawing a manga about a 16th century samurai that he has yet to finish.
In a separate interview with The Associated Press, Miyazaki stated his intention to continue working, not on feature-length filmmaking but on animated shorts to be shown at the Studio Ghibli museum.
“I will continue to make animation work until I die,” he said.