By Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood January 16, 2014 at 3:09PM
When Hayao Miyazaki officially announced his retirement back in September, it seemed like he wasn't going to back down. But since then, rumors have circulated that the 73-year-old Studio Ghibli director of Oscar-nominated animated feature "The Wind Rises" may not stick the landing.
After news broke that Miyazaki was allegedly working on a manga series, Ghibli director Isao Takahata told The Guardian, "[Miyazaki] said, 'This time, I am serious,' but I think there is a decent chance that may change. I think so, since I've known him a long time. Don't be at all surprised if that happens."
This isn't the first time Miyazaki has called it quits. Most notably after "Princess Mononoke" in 1997, he vowed to never make a film again, only to release "Spirited Away" in 2001, which won him his first and only Best Animated Feature Oscar.
Flares went up on Reddit last week, when one poster wrote: "Ghibli giant Hayao Miyazaki has... retracted his latest promise to retire... The withdrawal, made in a radio broadcast on New Year’s Eve, marks the 7th such recantation." Hard to substantiate given the forum, so who knows.
In other, less ambiguous news, Miyazaki graciously thanked the Academy this morning for honoring his "Wind Rises" with a predicted Best Animated Feature nomination:
I and my colleagues are deeply honored that the Academy has chosen to nominate THE WIND RISES, my last film, for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It is indeed a privilege for all of us who worked on the film to see it get this acclaim from so far away.
I am, personally, very gratified to receive such an honor, and wish to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Academy and thank everyone who has made the film such a success.
I hope that many people will see the film after it opens in North American theaters soon.
Back in November, we went behind-the-scenes of Studio Ghibli and the new film with executive producer Geoffrey Wexler. Read that story here. "The Wind Rises" returns to theaters on February 21.