Hayao Miyazaki wins first Golden Globe for ‘The Boy and the Heron’

Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki won a Golden Globe on Sunday for his film “The Boy and the Heron,” the first such award for him and his Studio Ghibli.

The film, which is based partly on Miyazaki’s childhood, is also the first in a language other than English to win the Golden Globe for best animated feature.

Miyazaki, 83, was not present to accept the award at the ceremony in Los Angeles, but his Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki, a producer on “The Boy and the Heron,” said it came at a welcome time.

“Since the beginning of this year, Japan has been hit by a series of tragic earthquakes and accidents. When I hear the reports of many people still waiting for rescue in the disaster areas, I am filled with a sense of despair,” Suzuki said in a post on X. “In such a situation, I hope the bright news of winning an award can bring a smile to everyone’s face, even if only a little.”  

At least 168 people were killed in a magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Japan on New Year’s Day, with more than 300 others still missing. A day later, five coast guard members were killed when a Japan Airlines passenger plane collided with their aircraft on the runway at Haneda Airport in Tokyo, although all 379 passengers and crew members on board were safely evacuated. 

“The Boy and the Heron” is said to be possibly the last film from Miyazaki, who spent seven years making it. It tells the story of a 12-year-old boy mourning his mother after her death during World War II, as he ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead. 

Hayao Miyazaki Golden Globe
A scene from Miyazaki’s “The Boy and the Heron.” Studio Ghibli / GKIDS via AP

The film topped the North American box office when it opened there last month, and has grossed over $137 million worldwide since it premiered in Japan in July. 

At the Golden Globes, it was up against “Wish,” “Elemental,” “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” and “Suzume.”

The Golden Globe win could set Miyazaki up for an Academy Award, which he last won in 2001 for “Spirited Away.” Miyazaki, whose other notable films include “Howl’s Moving Castle,” “Princess Mononoke” and “My Neighbor Totoro,” also received an honorary Oscar in 2014.