Academy Award Equivalents?

mark schilling schill
Thu Feb 24 09:24:36 EST 2005

Aaron asked for opinions about Japanese awards. I find that just about the
only Japanese awards my editors at Screen International have any real
interest in are the Japan Academy Awards -- must be the branding. I send
them the Kinejun results as well -- but nobody comes back to me asking for a
pic of the ceremony (which, incidentally, was broadcast this year on the
Nihon Eiga Channel -- not that any one watched, while the JAAs went
nationwide with NTV).

The Japan Academy Awards remind me of the Tokyo Film Festival -- many
industry types among the membership and the majors getting the biggest cuts
of the pie, be it the opening and closing screenings (TIFF) or the award
nominations (JAA).

Hanochi pulled in big yen at the BO, particularly among the forty-plus guys
who make up such a large proportion of the JAA membership, What was the
competition? Blood and Bones, Swing Girls, The Hidden Blade and Crying Out
Love, In the Center of the World. B&B is too dark and arty for this crowd,
SG too slight, HB too much like Yamada's The Twilight Samurai (which almost
swept the JAA board), Crying too much of a seishun eiga -- or am I just

The biggest slight, of course, was not giving Beat Takeshi a Best Actor
nomination for B&B. Aikawa Sho got nominated for Zebraman! The two winners
of acting awards for B&B, Suzuki Kyoka and Odagiri Joe, both praised Beat's
performance -- though they didn't go as far as protest his exclusion.

The biggest puzzler: You's Best Supporting Actress nomination for Nobody
Knows -- the film's only such nod. Not that she didn't deserve it -- but why
her and no one and nothing else? The logical thing, given the complete
dominance of the majors, would have been to shut out the film entirely ;)

Anyway enough on what is mostly Toei, Toho, Shochiku and now Kadokawa giving
themselves an annual pat on the back.

Here is a link to the JAA site:

I have appended my Screen news story on the awards.

Mark Schilling
schill at

Japan Academy Awards announced

Tokyo: Half a Confession (Hanochi), Kiyoshi Sasabe's courtroom drama about a
man who confesses to murdering his wife, was named 2004 Best Picture at the
28th Japan Academy Awards. Based on a best-selling novel by Hideo Yokoyama,
the film was also one of 2004's biggest domestic hits, grossing Y1.9 billion
($18.1 million) for distributor Toei. Half a Confession's star, Akira Terao,
won the Best Actor prize -- his second since scooping for Takashi Koizumi's
The Rain Lifts in 2001.

The Best Actress was Kyoka Suzuki for her performance as an abused wife in
Blood and Bones, a drama about a sadistic, but fiercely ambitious Korean man
who become a family patriarch and successful businessman in Japan after the
war. Yoichi Sai won the Best Director prize and Joe Odagiri, the Best
Supporting Actor prize for their work in the film. Blood and Bones star
"Beat" Takeshi Kitano was not even nominated, however.

The Best Supporting Actress was seventeen-year-old Masami Nagasawa, who shot
to stardom last year as the doomed teen-aged heroine of Isao Yukisada's
romantic drama Crying Out Love in the Centre of the World. The prize was her
sixth major domestic award for the role. The Best Newcomer prize was given
to six actors, including Anna Tsuchiya, who has swept similar prizes for her
work as a punk biker in Tetsuya Nakashima's Kamikaze Girls.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Aaron Gerow" <gerowaaron at>
To: <KineJapan at>
Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 11:45 PM
Subject: Re: Academy Award Equivalents?

> You can look at what the IMDb recognizes in its database as major
> awards:
> This can also raise the question, what do people think are the
> equivalent of the Academy Awards in Japan? Obviously the Japanese major
> companies would like you to think it is the Japanese Academy Awards
> (which is the only film award ceremony that is televised widely in
> Japan), but as many people have said on this list, it is shamelessly
> biased towards the films of the majors and often produces results
> totally out of whack with the other major Japanese awards (this year's
> winner, by the way, was Hanochi, which as far as I know, didn't win a
> best picture award anywhere else). For a while there, the IMDb listed
> only this among its international awards, but I see that they have done
> their homework and now list many of the others: KineJun, Mainichi, Blue
> Ribbon, Cultural Ministry Awards, etc.
> What do people think of these Japanese awards?
> Aaron Gerow
> KineJapan owner
> Assistant Professor
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Yale University
> For list commands, send "information kinejapan" to
> listserver at
> Kinema Club:

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