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Two anime-related films eligible for Oscar nomination


"Astro Boy" poster.  Copyright imagi Studios. 

The L.A. Times has posted a list of the 16 films eligible for nomination for the Best Animated Picture Oscar next year.

Three anime-related films are listed: "Evangelion 1.0: YOU ARE NOT ALONE," "Ponyo," and the not-yet-released 3-D animated adaptation of anime classic "Astro Boy."  Anime News Network, however, notes that "Evangelion" is actually ineligible due to having been released in Japan prior to January 1, 2008.

"Evangelion 1.0" is the first film in a four part retelling of 1994's anime classic "Neon Genesis Evangelion."  It has been playing in very limited runs in select theaters around the country since the beginning of summer.  There is one more showing coming up in the Cleveland area, however: November 4th at the Cleveland Museum of Art at 7 pm.

"Ponyo" was in area theaters through August and September.  It was directed by anime great Hayao Miyazaki, who won the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2002 with "Spirited Away." That year, it was nominated along with "Ice Age," "Lilo & Stitch," "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron," and "Treasure Planet."  This year, with Pixar film "Up" and Neil Gaiman adaptation "Coraline" in the running, it will be harder for Miyazaki to pull off another win.

"Astro Boy" is the most popular and recognizable creation of "God of Manga" Osamu Tezuka.  He first appeared in Japan in 1952, and the first animated television series was shown in the United States back in 1963.  The new American version was made by Imagi Studios, the same company that made the 3-D animated "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" movie back in 2007.  "Astro Boy" is opening in theaters nationwide October 23rd.