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Hayao Miyazaki & Gay Cowpokes: Oscar & European Film Award Contenders

Howl's Moving Castle Hayao Miyazaki OscarHayao Miyazaki's 'Howl's Moving Castle'

'Howl's Moving Castle,' 'Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit' among ten animated features in contention for the 2005 Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the ten films eligible to compete in the 2005 Academy Awards' Best Animated Feature Film category. The list of animated Oscar 2005 semi-finalists, among them Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, Steve Box and Nick Park's Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, was compiled by the executive committee of the Academy's Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

As per current Academy rules, a maximum of three animated films can be nominated in a year in which the number of eligible entries ranges between eight and sixteen. Note: Films not yet released in Los Angeles County must fulfill all of the general release qualifying rules before the end of the year.

The ten eligible films for the 2005 Best Animated Feature Film Oscar are:

  • Chicken Little
  • Gulliver's Travel
  • Howl's Moving Castle / Hauru no ugoku shiro
  • Hoodwinked
  • Madagascar
  • Robots
  • Steamboy
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
  • Valiant
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

The above films may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories.

Animated feature films with prestigious voice casts

A number of prestigious actors and actresses have lent their voices to this year's top animated movies. The English-language voice cast for Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle, for instance, features the voices of Christian Bale, Josh Hutcherson, Emily Mortimer, Blythe Danner, Billy Crystal, Jena Malone, and veterans Lauren Bacall (The Big Sleep, The Mirror Has Two Faces) and Jean Simmons (Hamlet, Elmer Gantry). Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, for its part, offers the voices of Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Geraldine McEwan, and Peter Sallis.

Oscar 2005 dates

The Oscar 2005 nominations will be announced at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater at 5:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, January 31, 2006. The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle image: Walt Disney Studios.

15 Feature Documentaries Vie for Oscar Nominations

March of the Penguins by Luc JacquetThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the list of feature-length documentary films in competition for the 78th Academy Awards. Of the 82 originally eligible films, the Documentary Branch Screening Committee picked 15 semi-finalists, from which a second round of voting will lead to the five official nominees. Among them are Jessica Sanders' After Innocence, which explains how wrongfully imprisoned men must, after years in jail, cope on their own with their newly found freedom; Hubert Sauper's Darwin's Nightmare, which shows how the Nile perch may be good for European consumers but bad for Lake Victoria's environment and the area's fishermen; Chicago International Film Festival winner The Boys of Baraka, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's documentary about a group of disadvantaged pre-teen American boys who are placed in a Kenyan boarding school for two years; Alex Gibney's Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, the story of one of the ugliest government-corporate corruption scandals in recent years; and Luc Jacquet's box office smash La Marche de l'empereur / March of the Penguins.

The 15 documentaries in the running are:

After Innocence

The Boys of Baraka

Darwin's Nightmare

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Favela Rising

Mad Hot Ballroom

March of the Penguins


Occupation: Dreamland

On Native Soil: The Documentary of the 9/11 Commission Report


Street Fight

39 Pounds of Love

Unknown White Male

The Oscar 2005 nominations will be announced at 5:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, January 31, 2006. The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 5, 2006, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.

2005 Prix Screen International Nominees

Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz in The Constant Gardener (2005) directed by Fernando MeirellesA little late in the game. . . on Nov. 15, 2005, the European Film Academy (website) announced the list of non-European films nominated for this year's Prix Screen International. The list of “non-European” nominees include several European co-productions, including the very European The Constant Gardener. Even if directed by a Brazilian national, and partly set in Africa, The Constant Gardener is certainly no less European than Best European Film nominee Don't Come Knocking, which, although directed by the German Wim Wenders, is set in the United States, is based on a screenplay by the American Sam Shepard, and stars a mostly non-European cast led by Americans Shepard and Jessica Lange. Would anyone not consider Rebecca and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest American productions simply because they were directed by Europeans?

It might be a good idea for the European Film Academy to – pardon the expletive – globalize their nomination process, as their picks for who or what is “European” and who/what isn't can become quite labyrinthine and contradictory. Additionally, a truly international awards ceremony based in Europe could turn out to be the sort of strong competitor the U.S.-based Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences needs; one that might - and I know I'm being overly optimistic here - put an end to both the Academy Awards' supremacy and the Academy's generally mundane choices.

In any case, the 11 “non-European” nominees (six of them English-language productions) for the 2005 Prix Screen International are:

  • BATALLA EN EL CIELO (Battle in Heaven), by Carlos Reygadas, France
    / Mexico / Germany / Belgium
  • BE WITH ME, by Eric Khoo, Singapore
  • BROKEN FLOWERS, by Jim Jarmusch, USA
  • THE CONSTANT GARDENER, by Fernando Meirelles, UK / Germany / Kenya
  • CRASH, by Paul Haggis, USA
  • C.R.A.Z.Y., by Jean-Marc Vallée, Canada
  • GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, by George Clooney, USA
  • LOOK BOTH WAYS, by Sarah Watt, Australia
  • SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE, by Park Chan-Wook, South Korea
  • TSOTSI, by Gavin Hood, UK / South Africa

The winner will be announced during the European Film Awards ceremony on December 3 in Berlin.

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