Makoto Shinkai’s hit anime Weathering With You has been selected to represent Japan in the International Feature Film category at the 92nd Oscars. The movie, which will have its North American premiere in Toronto, is about a runaway boy who befriends a girl who can manipulate the weather. It has been a runaway success at home as it nears $100 million after six weeks in release. Gkids took U.S. distribution rights out of Cannes and will set a U.S. theatrical release for early 2020.
Shinkai is known for 2016’s anime smash Your Name, which did nearly $360M globally including resonating strongly in China. Weathering With You is the first anime Oscar submission from Japan since Hayao Miyazaki’s Prihncess Mononoke in 1997.
Japan last won the category with 2008’s Departures. It was nominated last year with Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters.
Also joining the International Feature Film Oscar race today is Romania’s The Whistlers from director Corneliu Porumboiu. This is his second feature to be selected by Romania following 2009’s Police, Adjective.
The Whistlers follows Vlad, an inspector in Bucharest who plays both sides of the law. Embarking with the beautiful Gilda on a high-stakes heist, both will have to navigate the twists and turns of corruption, treachery and deception. A trip to the Canary Islands to learn a secret whistling language might just be what they need to pull it off.
Romania has never advanced beyond the shortlist, making that cut just once with 2012’s Beyond the Hills by Cristian Mungiu. He had helmed 2007’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days whose omission from the shortlist caused widespread consternation and led to the Academy altering its voting procedures.
Magnolia Pictures took U.S. distribution rights to The Whistlers in Cannes and plans a theatrical release on February 28, 2020. The movie will next screen at Toronto, Fantastic Fest and the New York Film Festival.