Three directors and arguably the greatest anime composer of all time asked to join organization.

Despite anime becoming steadily more popular around the world, and bolstering its critical acclaim in the process, the medium has had limited success at the Oscars. Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away remains the only anime film to win an award from the U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and while a handful of other Studio Ghibli titles have been nominated, pretty much everything outside Ghibli’s output is overlooked or ignored.

That might be changing, though, if a few of the filmmakers who’ve just been invited to join the academy take the organization up on its offer. The list of his year’s invitees have just been announced, and if you sift through the 928 names, among them you’ll find Makoto Shinkai, the director of phenomenally popular anime Your Name.

The academy has also extended invitations to Mamoru Hosoda (director of Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast, and the upcoming Mirai of the Future) and Sunao Katabuchi (director of World War II anime In This Corner of the World). In addition to the trio of directors, Yoko Kanno, modern anime’s most eclectically talented composer and the person responsible for the scores to Cowboy Bebop, Macross Plus, and The Vision of Escaflowne has also been invited to become a member of the academy.

However, while many would call becoming a member of the academy a major feather in one’s cap, not everyone feels the need to take advantage of such an opportunity. Studio Ghibli cofounders Hayao Miyazaki, producer Toshio Suzuki, and recently deceased Grave of the Fireflies director Isao Takahata have all declined invitations from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, as did long-time Ghibli film composer Joe Hisaishi. There’s no guarantee that any of this new batch of beckoned anime luminaries will feel any differently than the Ghibli icons did (especially after Your Name wasn’t even nominated in the Best Animated Feature category for its year of eligibility despite a qualifying U.S. theatrical run).

Still, much as creators at awards ceremonies say it’s an honor just to be nominated, the invitations from the academy are a definite show of respect, and perhaps a sign that there’s hope yet of another anime one day winning an Oscar.

Sources: Anime News Network/Rafael Antonio Pineda, Deadline, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Top image: Your Name official website