The Los Angeles Film Critics Assocation or LAFCA may still be weeks away from announcing their awards, but they still have other prizes to hand out. Chief among these prizes is their Career Achievement Award. Over the years, the LAFCA has given the prize to some of the biggest forces in the industry. The past two years, the prize has gone to actors, including Shirley McLaine and Max Von Sydow. However, this year’s prize goes to someone that has helped legitimize animation the world over, specifically in international markets. LAFCA has announced that the 2018 career achievement award will go to director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Hayao Miyazaki.
The announcement comes from a press release earlier today from LAFCA. His work with Studio Ghibli helped Miyazaki gain the reputation as one of the greatest animation directors ever. His career achievement remains “Spirited Away,” which won him the LAFCA prize for Best Animated Film and Oscar for the same category in 2002. He also directed “My Neighbor Totoro,” “The Wind Rises,” “Princess Monoke” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” over his career. The three-time Oscar nominee became an honorary Oscar winner in 2015 as well.
LAFCA has always had an eye for the eccentric, and Miyazaki fits their mold. He’s a great foreign director, who honestly has still not received the praise he deserves as a titan of a genre. He also helped popularize anime and Japanese animation across the United States from the mid-1990s to the modern day. There are many American audiences who contend that Miyazaki’s work ranks among the top animated films in the history of the genre, and frankly, it is hard to argue against that. With another prize on his mantle, Miyazaki continues to build his legend, even into his 80s.