LOS ANGELES - Mamoru Hosoda’s film “Mirai” won the best animated independent feature category at the 46th annual Annie Awards on Saturday.
“Mirai” depicts a young boy who happens upon a magical garden, enabling him to travel through time and encounter relatives from different eras, guided by his little sister from the future.
The main character is modeled after Hosoda’s own son.
Organized by the international animated film society, or ASIFA-Hollywood, the Annie Awards are considered one of the highest accolades in the animation production industry and often dubbed the Academy Awards for animation.
Hosoda, touted as a possible successor to Japan’s famed director Hayao Miyazaki, is best known for “Toki wo Kakeru Shojo” (“The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”) in 2006, and “Bakemono no Ko” (“The Boy and the Beast”) in 2015.
The best animated independent feature category covers animation films with smaller distribution than major studio releases, being shown at fewer than 1,000 theaters in the United States.
“MFKZ,” co-directed by Shojiro Nishimi from Japan and Guillaume “Run” Renard from France, was also nominated for the independent feature category award but missed out.
In 2017, “The Red Turtle,” produced by Studio Ghibli in collaboration with other companies, took the best animated independent feature award. Studio Ghibli is best known for the award-winning works of Miyazaki.
“Mirai” has also been nominated for an Oscar in the Animated Feature Film category.
The others nominated in the same category are “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Incredibles 2,” “Isle of Dogs” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
“I am very surprised that ‘Mirai’ has been nominated for a 91st Academy Award,” Hosoda said on Jan. 23 on his animation studio’s blog.