Friday, December 19, 2008

Japanese Academy Award nominations announced

by Chris MaGee

Not only is the holiday season upon us, but so is awards season and the biggest of the film honours in Japan, The Japanese Academy Prize, or as it's more commonly known The Japanese Academy Awards, announced their nominations for 2008 at a press conference held on Thursday in Tokyo. Japan Academy Prize Chairman Hiroshi Sekiguchi (above left) and last year's Best Actress winner Kirin Kiki (above right) were on hand to read out the names and it looks like 2008's sleeper hit "Okuribito (Departures)" has swept another awards ceremony picking up 13 nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Masahiro Motoki. The Yojiro Takita drama about an unemployed cellist who takes a job at a funeral home has already won Best Film at the Montreal World Film Festival, the 33rd Annual Hochi Film Awards and this year's Yokohama Eigasai (Film Festival) and is representing Japan as its selection for this year's Best Foreign Language Film at the American Academy Awards.

What I'm personally happy to see is that Ken'ichi Matsuyama has picked up a nomination for Best Actor for his dual performance as Soichi/ Johannes Krauser II in Toshio Lee's "Detroit Metal City". Sure it was a goofy comedy, but he ws still brilliant (and hilarious) in the role(s). Maybe the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in America will follow the lead and stop ghettoizing comedic performances when it comes time to hand out their statuettes. I'm also overjoted to see that Tae Kimura is up for best actress for her wonderful performance in "All Around Us".

Here is a rundown of will be vying for the top prizes when the Japanese Academy Prizes are handed out on February 20th.

Best Film

Okuribito (Departures)
Kabei (My Mother)
Climber's High
Yōgisha X no Kenshin (Suspect X)
The Magic Hour

Best Director

Yojiro Takita - Okuribito (Departures)
Tetsuya Nakashima - Paco and the Magical Picture Book
Masato Harada - Climber's High
Koki Mitani - The Magic Hour
Yoji Yamada - Kabei (My Mother)

Best Actor

Koichi Sato - The Magic Hour
Shinichi Tsttsumi - Climber's High
Ken'ichi Matsuyama - Detroit Metal City
Masahiro Motoki - Okuribito (Departures)
Koji Yakusho - Paco and the Magical Picture Book

Best Actress

Tae Kimura - All Around Us
Yukie Nakama - I Want to Be a Shellfish
Ryoko Hirosue - Okuribito (Departures)
Sayuri Yoshinaga - Kabei (My Mother)
Sayuri Yoshinaga - Maboroshi no Yamataikoku

Best Supporting Actor

Tadanobu Asano - Kabei (My Mother)
Masato Sakai - Climber's High
Shinichi Tsutsumi - Yōgisha X no Kenshin (Suspect X)
Yasufumi Terawaki - Aibou: The Movie
Tsutomu Yamazaki - Okuribito (Departures)

Best Supporting Actress

Kirin Kiki - Still Walking
Rei Dan - Kabei (My Mother)
Yasuko Matsuyuki - Detrot Metal City
Yasuko Maysuyuki - Yōgisha X no Kenshin (Suspect X)
Kimiko Yo - Okuribito (Departures)

Best Newcomer

Koike Teppei - Homeless Chugakusei
Ayaka Wilson - Paco and the Magical Picture Book
Yuriko Takashi - Snakes and Earrings
Saki Fukuda - The Cherry Orchard
Shota Matsuda - Ikigami: The Ultimate Limit

Best Animated Film

Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea
The Sky Crawlers
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Detective Conan: Full Score of Fear
One Piece: Episode of Chopper: Bloom in the Winter, Miracle Sakura

Thanks to Anime News Netowrk, Variety Asia Online and Variety Japan for the details on this.

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