Late last week, beloved animator Hayao Miyazaki joined a small list of creatives inducted into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame for 2014. If Miyazaki accepts the invitation to join the 6,000 member-strong group, it would make the 73-year-old filmmaker behind Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro, and Nausicaa Valley of the Wind eligible to cast his vote in the Academy Awards.
The Seattle-based Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame also inducted other luminaries in the genre including A Clockwork Orange and The Shining director Stanley Kubrick, illustrator Frank Frazetta, Empire Strikes Back screenwriter and novelist Leigh Brackett, and author Olaf Stapledon (The Last and First Men books).
The honor comes just on the edge of Miyazaki’s promised retirement from filmmaking. Speaking with Buzzfeed earlier this year, he explained why it was time for him to call it quits:
“I really felt that this was the maximum that I could give to produce an animated film,” he said. “The work of animation is building up bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar. I felt I wouldn’t be able to put [up] another brick.”
His latest, The Wind Rises, was nominated for an Academy Award. That film was a fantasized chronicle of the life of engineer Jirô Horikoshi, creator of the Zero Bomber in the lead up to World War II. While it picked up a few awards, it’s possible that some of the controversy surrounding the sentimentalizing of someone who contributed to the Axis war effort might have put off Academy voters. I mean, they would have been wrong: the film was perfect, treading a fine line between sentiment and acknowledgment that the impulse to create can sometimes happen in messy, complicated, or downright evil circumstances.