Oscar nominee ‘Drive My Car’ wins eight Japanese Academy Awards

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Oscar-nominated Hamaguchi Ryusuke’s “Drive My Car” won eight awards at the 45th Japanese Academy Film Awards ceremony, held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takawana in Tokyo on Friday.

In addition to Best Picture, the film won Best Director (Hamaguchi), Best Screenplay (Hamaguchi and co-screenwriter Oe Takamasa), and Best Actor (Nishijima Hidetoshi). The film also won awards for photography, lighting, editing, and sound recording.

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Meanwhile, Best Actress went to Arimura Kasumi for her work in the hit romantic drama “We Made a Beautiful Bouquet.”

Best Animation honors went to Watanabe Ayumu’s “Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko,” a touching coming-of-age film set on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido.

The Japan Academy Film Prizes, awarded annually since 1978, are modeled after the American Oscars, although some categories are different. Additionally, nominees are selected by industry professionals, although voters include employees of major film companies, which has tended to favor blockbuster commercial releases over critically acclaimed independent films. The best foreign language film was “No Time to Die”.

“Drive My Car” falls more into the indie category, having only earned $300,000 in 2021, after its release in Japan in August last year. But the film could well jump at the box office if it wins at least one of the four Oscars for which it has been nominated, including best picture, a first for a Japanese film.

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