Earlier this year, filmmaker Peter Ramsey’s name flashed into the collective consciousness when “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won the Academy Award for best animated feature, elbowing the Japan-made nominee, “Mirai,” to the side. As co-director of a three-man directorial team, Ramsey also became the first African American director to win in the animation genre.
As “Mirai” lost out to its rival, social media was rife with concerns that Japanese anime was losing its edge. Being defeated in the world of live action was one thing — I’m still hurting over “Shoplifters” losing to “Roma” in 2018 — but a loss in animation was harder to swallow. (This, despite the fact that Japanese anime has won an Oscar only once in the past — for Hayao Miyazaki’s “Spirited Away” in 2003, and has only been nominated six times since the award was established in 2001.)