by Chris MaGee
So many awards were given out this past weekend that I thought it more economical to lump them all into one story here on the blog. So without further adieu, the envelopes went to...
First off the 9th Annual Tokyo Filmex wrapped up on Sunday and the jury led by Akira Kurosawa's long time script supervisor, Teruyo Nogami, awarded the grand prize of the fest to Israeli director Ari Folman's animated retelling of Lebanese war "Waltz with Bashir". In terms of Japanese films taking home prizes at Filmex Sion Sono's 237-minute genre epic "Love Exposure" ended up walking away with the the Agnes B. Award, the audience choice award for the fest.
Also in Tokyo on Friday the 32nd Annual Fumiko Yamaji Awards were handed out. It was there that Kyoko Koizumi (above right) won the Best Actress Award for her role as the wife and mother of a troubled Japanese family in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Tokyo Sonata", while Haruka Ayase (above left) took home Best Newcomer for her roles in "Cyborg She", "ICHI," and "Happy Flight." Best Picture went to my favorite film of 2008, Ryosuke Hashiguchi's "All Around Us" and Best Director honours went to veteran pink film helmer Koji Wakamatsu for his "United Red Army".
Lastly, the 33rd Hochi Film Awards were handed out last Thursday and the big winners there were Yojiro Takita's "Okuribito (Departures)" which is fast becoming this year's awards darling already haing won Best Film at the Montreal Worl Film Festival and being named Japan's official selection for this year's Best Foreign Language Oscar race.
In term of acting awards things broke down like this: Shinichi Tsutsumi won Best Actor for "Climber's High", and again Kyoko Koizumi picked up Best Actress for "Tokyo Sonata". I wanted to specifically mention Kirin Kiki winning for best supporting actress as the matriarch of a grieving family in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Still Walking". Her's was probably one of the most memorable performances I saw this year... and once again my personal favorite Ryosuke Hashiguchi won best director.
Congratulations to all the winners, as well as to all the nominees!