Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki send sweet and funny video message to thank the festival for the unprecedented accolade.

Studio Ghibli made history yesterday, when it became the first group to ever be awarded with the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival. This award honours film directors and actors for great contributions to the film industry, but festival director, Thierry Frémaux, and festival president, Iris Knobloch, made the unprecedented decision to award a studio instead of a single creative for the very first time.

Goro Miyazaki, son of director and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the studio, and he walked the red carpet with Ghibli Vice President Kenichi Yoda as “Sanpo“, the opening song for My Neighbour Totoro, played over the speakers. Upon being guided to their seats in the Grand Théâtre Lumière by Frémaux and Knobloch for the award ceremony, the usually stony faced Goro was unable to conceal his surprise and delight at the applause and standing ovation he received upon entering the theatre.

▼ Take a look at the red carpet walk and theatre entrance below.

Yoda appeared teary eyed and Goro pulled a series of funny faces as the two accepted the platitudes with a heartwarming sense of awkward humility. Once everyone was seated, the ceremony began with Frémaux telling the audience that Studio Ghibli had actually been offered the award a few years ago but the tribute had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The audience was then treated to a near-nine-minute-long video that took them through the films Ghibli has produced over the past 40 years, before Goro took to the stage to accept the award, where he said:

“Thank you very much for inviting me here today. I would like to express thanks on behalf of Studio Ghibli, Ghibli Museum, and Ghibli Park.”

As indicated by Goro’s speech, the award was presented to Studio Ghibli, which includes not only the film-making arm of the company, but the museum and park as well. He then went on to joke, “Should I speak more?” before going on to say that Hayao Miyazaki and Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshi Suzuki were sorry that they could not make it to the ceremony but they had sent along a video message for the audience.

▼ The video message from Miyazaki and Suzuki.

The short clip shows that if they were to ever give up their day jobs, the still-cleanly shaven Miyazaki and good friend Suzuki would make a fantastic comedy double act. The audience responded warmly to the video message, and as mentioned, four of the studio’s 10 short films, which can usually only be viewed at Ghibli Park and the Ghibli Museum, were shown as a return gift of thanks to the Cannes Film Festival.

Upon accepting the award, Goro kept the atmosphere light by remarking that he was glad it was packed nicely in a box, as the Oscar statuette the studio received this year when it won the Academy Award for The Boy and the Heron didn’t come with a box, so they had to wrap it in a hotel towel to keep it safe on the journey home.

He then went on to say more seriously:

“It was 40 years ago that Studio Ghibli was founded by Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki. In those 40 years, we have made a lot of films but we also constructed the Ghibli Museum and the new Ghibli Park. Of course, the three founders have been the biggest contributors to the studio but I would like to hold this award up to the many staff on the team who work for us. And this award is for everyone who loves our movies, we would like to express our thanks to all Ghibli fans.” 

Before exiting the theatre with the award, he once again acknowledged the studio’s 40-year history by saying: “We see this award as a message to keep going for another 40 years, and we hope to do that. Thank you very much.”

▼ Goro also had this message for fans, which Cannes shared on its official Twitter account.

It’s reassuring to hear that though the studio is bring recognised for its decades-long contribution to the industry, it’s also looking to the future too. What that future entails, well, the elder Miyazaki is keeping that closely under wraps, but for now, we hope the studio and everyone who works there will take a moment to give themselves a well-deserved pat on the back, and hopefully, like the Oscar earlier this year, we’ll be able to see the Palme d’Or in person at Ghibli Park soon.

Sources: Festival de Cannes, Mainichi Shimbun, NHK
Top image: YouTube/Festival de Cannes
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