Oscar-Contender ‘Drive My Car’ Wins Eight Japan Academy Prizes

Drive My Car International Features Shortlist
Courtesy of Everett Collection

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

In addition to the best picture award, the film won the award for best director (Hamaguchi), best screenplay (Hamaguchi and co-writer Oe Takamasa) and best actor (Nishijima Hidetoshi). The film also scooped prizes for cinematography, lighting, editing and sound recording.

Meanwhile, the best actress award went to Arimura Kasumi for her work in Doi Nobuhiro’s hit romantic drama “We Made a Beautiful Bouquet” (aka “I Fell in Love Like A Flower Bouquet”). The film follows the fortunes over five years of two people who initially meet on a late night train journey

Best animation honors were awarded to Anno Hideaki’s hit “Evangelion 3.0+1.0: Thrice Upon A Time.”

The Japan Academy Film Prizes, which have been awarded annually since 1978,  are modeled on the U.S. Academy Awards, though some categories are different. Also, the nominees are selected by industry professionals, though the voters include employees at major film companies, which has tended to favor hit commercial releases over critically acclaimed indies. The best foreign-language film was “No Time to Die.”

“Drive My Car” falls more in the indie category, having earned only $300,000 in 2021, following its Japan release in August of last year. But the film could well get a box office boost 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.