The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) has chosen Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron as the year’s best animated feature film.
It marks the fourth time that Miyazaki has won the honor from the NYFCC, which is the oldest film critics group in the United States. He was previously honored by the group for Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises.. It’s unlikely that another animation director will match Miyazaki’s success at the NYFCC anytime soon; the only other filmmaker who has been honored with multiple animation honors is Sylvain Chomet, who has won the category twice.
The NYFCC animation prize is an excellent indicator of future Academy Award feature animation nominees, if not necessarily winners. During years in which both awards have been handed out, 19 of the 21 NYFCC winners have gone on to be nominated for an animation Oscar.
There is much less correlation between winners. In fact, none of the last four NYFCC winners – Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2022), The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021), Wolfwalkers (2020), and I Lost My Body (2019) – have gone on to win the Oscar. The last time both groups agreed on a winner was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The Boy and the Heron will be widely released in the U.S. on December 8, when GKIDS will distribute the film nationwide in both an English-language dub and a Japanese-language version with English subtitles.
The Boy and the Heron is an original semi-autobiographical fantasy written and directed by Miyazaki, about a young boy, yearning for his mother, who ventures into a world shared by the living and the dead.