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Critics Are Spirited Away

Critics have begun to single out one of Disney's four short-listed animated features as a possible front runner for Oscar nomination. Hayao Miyazaki's lyrical film SPIRITED AWAY was named Best Animated Feature this week by both The New York Film Critics Circle and The Los Angeles Film Critics after receiving the same honor from the National Board of Review on December 4, 2002. Last year's Animated Feature Oscar Winner SHREK was also cited by the Los Angeles Critics and The Board of Review, but New York critics did not see green last year, honoring Richard Linklater's WAKING LIFE instead, a film that failed to be nominated. However it does seem as though Japan's highest grossing film ever may have a chance for Oscar gold, even if it stalled out in the U.S. box office race (total gross to date $5.3 million). With seventeen animated features on the short list, up to five films may be selected for nomination in the category, which will be presented for the second time at the 75th Academy Awards. Oscar nominations are scheduled to be unveiled February 11, 2003.