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‘Journalist’ Named Best Picture at Guest-Free Japan Academy Awards, Held Amid Coronavirus Fears

Weathering With You
GKIDS

“The Journalist,” Michihito Fujii’s drama about a young female reporter who investigates a scandal that extends to the highest reaches of Japanese politics, won the Best Picture prize at the 43rd Japan Academy Awards ceremony, held in Tokyo Friday.

Due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, no guests were invited and no media were on site to cover the ceremony at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa.

Based on Isoko Mochizuki‘s non-fiction book, “The Journalist” was a surprise box office hit last year, breaking an industry taboo against dramatizing real-life political controversy in commercial films.

Shim Eun-Kyung, who played the Korean-Japanese reporter, took the Best Actress prize. Meanwhile, Tori Matsuzaka, who co-starred as a conflicted elite bureaucrat the reporter uses as a source, was named Best Actor.

Japan’s biggest hit in 2019, Makoto Shinkai’s “Weathering With You,” scooped Best Animation honors, while the group Radwimps, which supplied the film’s theme song, took the Best Music award. Released last July by Toho, the film earned $137 million.

Elsewhere, hit comedy “Take Me to the Saitama” received Best Director for Hideki Takeuchi and Best Screenplay for Yuichi Tokunaga.

Best Supporting Actress was Masami Nagasawa while Best Supporting Actor was Ryo Yoshizawa. Both won for their work in “Kingdom,” Shinsuke Sato’s period actioner set in ancient China and based on a popular comic. “Kingdom” also won two tech prizes for a total of four, the highest among this year’s awarded films.

The Best Foreign Film prize went to Joaquin Phoenix-starrer “Joker,” for which the actor won the Oscar for Best Actor.

The awards are administered by the Nippon Academy-sho Association with a total of 17 categories similar to the Academy Awards Stateside.