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Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ wins BAFTA

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Renowned Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron” won the Animated Film prize at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards on Sunday, marking Japan’s first win in the category.

The award comes after the film captured the Animated Prize at the Golden Globes in January and is also among the nominees for the Best Animated Feature at next month’s U.S. Academy Awards.

The film directed by the 83-year-old Oscar-winning animator is a fictional story set in World War II. Its protagonist, a Japanese boy named Mahito, moves to a new town after the death of his mother and meets a talking heron that leads him to a fantasy world.

Meanwhile, “Oppenheimer” took seven awards, including Best Film. Directed by Christopher Nolan, the film depicts the life of physicist Robert Oppenheimer, known as the “father of the atomic bomb” which was dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of the war.

Previous Japanese productions that have won BAFTAs include Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car,” which took the Best Film not in the English Language prize in 2022, Akira Kurosawa’s “Ran” in 1986 and “Kagemusha” — winner of Best Direction in 1980.

Although Miyazaki had announced his retirement in 2013 after producing “The Wind Rises,” another of his Oscar-nominated films, he began his latest work in 2017.

The BAFTA is one of many accolades in Miyazaki’s long career. He was awarded the Golden Bear, the top prize at the Berlin International Film Festival, in 2002, and won an Oscar the following year for “Spirited Away.”

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