Ponyo, Astro Boy Shortlisted for Oscar Nod

Ponyo, Aoki Norichika

The Miyazaki Hayao anime feature “Gake no Ue no Ponyo” (Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea) has been shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination. Along with the Hollywood CG adaptation of Tezuka Osamu’s “Tetsuwan Atomu” (Astro Boy), it is among the record 20 feature-length animations announced by judges yesterday. The number will be whittled down, probably to five nominees, in February and the winners will be announced at the 82nd Academy Awards on March 7. The competition is strong this year and includes Disney’s “Up,” due for release in Japan in December as “Kaaru Jii-san no Sora Tobu Ie” (Grandpa Karl’s Flying House), and “A Christmas Carol.” But Miyazaki’s anime has been a widespread critical success, and he won Japan’s first ever animation Oscar with “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (Spirited Away) in 2003.

• Management for TV Tokyo announcer Otake Sachi (26) and baseball star Aoki Norichika (27, photo right) said the pair got married this week. The couple registered their marriage as soon as Aoki left hospital, where he underwent surgery on both ankles. A career .331 batter, the Yakult Swallows outfielder has been one of Japanese baseball’s most productive hitters in recent years and was a key player in the country’s World Baseball Classic victories in 2006 and 2009. He and Otake were introduced by a mutual friend at the end of 2007 and started dating the following spring. They announced their engagement at the beginning of October, but the happy news didn’t help the Swallows clinch the Central league pennant.