TOKYO — Helmer Yoji Yamada’s smash drama “Love and Honor” was tops Wednesday with 12 noms for the 30th Japan Academy Awards, but Takuya Kimura, who starred as the blind samurai in the period hit, has turned down his actor nom.
According to a Japan Academy spokesman, talent shop Johnny & Associates, which reps the pop star-turned-thesp, rejected Kimura’s nom after a week of negotiations, saying it didn’t “want to put him in a position of competing with other actors for the prize.”
Johnny’s, known for mass-manufacturing young male talent hyphenates, has a longstanding policy of not participating in music biz contests and awards. Its rejection of a Japan Academy nom is a first, however.
Kimura is a member of the pop group SMAP and has been a TV drama megastar for more than a decade.
The 12 nominations for “Love and Honor” equal the record for a live-action pic.
Comedy “Suite Dreams” received 11 noms and dramedy “Hula Girls” took 10.
Noms are made by the 4,400 Academy members in a total of 15 categories, including picture, director, actor and actress. Awards ceremony will be held Feb. 16 in Tokyo.
In the 29-year history of the Japan Academy Awards, several individuals have rejected noms, including Akira Kurosawa, who turned down a director nod for “Kagemusha” in 1980, citing scheduling conflicts, and Ken Takakura, who rejected an actor nom in 2002 for drama “Hotaru,” saying he wanted to make way for younger actors.
Kazunari Ninomiya, who has earned some Oscar buzz with his turn as a baker-turned-solider in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima,” is a Johnny’s talent as well. Firm has not said what it will do if he scores an Academy Award nomination.