by Chris MaGee
Only yesterday I posted the results of what I thought was going to be the last of the awards ceremonies of 2008, the Top 10 Best Films of last year as named by the staff of Tokyo's Cinemirai. Well, it turns out I spoke to soon. According to Tokyograph the winners of the 18th Annual Japan Movie Critics Awards were announced at a ceremony in Tokyo yesterday, and surprise! "Departures" didn't pull off another sweep. Yes, Best Director went to Yojiro Takita and Best Music Artist went to Jo Hisaishi for his original score for the Oscar-winning film, but the other top categories that "Departures" had been snagging again and again were evenly split up amongst some very worthy competition.
Best Picture went to Koji Wakamatsu's "United Red Army" (above), a film that I am horribly embarassed to admit I've yet to see, and Best Actor went to Noriyuki Higashiyama for his role in Tetsuo Shinohara's period drama "Yamazakura". I guess Masahiro Motoki will have to just get by with the dozen or so Best Actor trophies he's already picked up for his lead role in "Departures".
One interesting win is a Special Award that will be presented to "Calamari Wrestler" and "Executive Koala" director Minoru Kawasaki. His films are intentionally B-grade and his last film "Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit" was almost universally panned by critics, so it's good to his his wacky career being honoured.
Well, enough of me yapping. Here's a full rundown of the winners courtesy of Tokyograph:
Best Picture: "United Red Army"
Best Director: Yojiro Takita ("Depatures")
Best Actor: Noriyuki Higashiyama ("Yamazakura")
Best Actress: Eiko Koike ("Seppun")
Best Supporting Actor: Ittoku Kishibe ("GS Wonderland")
Best Supporting Actress: Maki Sakai ("United Red Army")
Best New Actor: Lily Franky ("All Around Us")
Best New Actress: Yuriko Yoshitaka ("Hebi ni Piasu")
Judges' Special Prize: Makoto Fujita ("Ashita e no Yuigon")
Judges' Special Prize: Seiko Matsuda ("Grave of the Fireflies")
Best Music Artist: Joe Hisaishi ("Okuribito," "Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea")
Best Cinematography: Shigeru Komatsubara ("Koisuru Tomato")
Special Achievement Award: Yutaka Okada (Argo Pictures)
Special Achievement Award: Keiichi Uraoka
Special Award: Minoru Kawasaki
International Activity Award: Shun Shibata
Golden Glory Award: Chiharu Kuri
Golden Glory Award: Hiroko Sakurai
Golden Glory Award: Chako van Leeuwen
Diamond Award: Susumu Hani
Diamond Award: Shoichi Ozawa
The 18th Annual Japan Movie Critics Awards will be handed out at a ceremony being held on April 23rd.