As the Oscar race heats up, Disney’s release of Hayao Miyazaki’s and Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away picked up some steam over the weekend. The highly imaginative, fantasy/adventure anime feature was named Best Animated Film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
Last year, L.A. film critics awarded the distinction to DreamWorks’ Shrek, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. And while the win is a major feather in the cap for Spirited Away, the Oscar category is still too new to detect a pattern.
The association named Monsters, Inc. last year’s runner-up. While there was no runner-up this year, Disney’s Lilo & Stitch received a special citation.
The Jack Nicholson drama/comedy About Schmidt took Best Picture honors at this year’s ceremonies. The period drama Far From Heaven, starring Julianne Moor and Dennis Quaid was named runner-up.
Miyazaki’s next film will be an adaptation of Diana Wayne Jones’ book Howl’s Moving Castle. The picture will go into production in Feb. of 2003 and will be distributed by Disney.