Spirited Away won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003, winning out over films like Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Treasure Planet. Although this might be common knowledge for most, Miyazaki didn’t actually attend the awards ceremony for undisclosed reasons. In 2009, he finally opened up during an interview at Comic Con. “The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq,” he said to The Times. “At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling.”
Miyazaki’s films have often expressed pacifist themes, including Princess Mononoke, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle. With the 2016 awards ceremony spurring the question of Why Are The #OscarsSoWhite This Year? and public boycotting from directors like Spike Lee, it seems like Miyazaki is certainly not alone in that department.