39th Japanese Academy Awards

On March 4th, the 39th annual Japanese Academy Awards were held at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo.

Umimachi Diary (海街diary which roughly translates as Sea Town Diary) came away with four wins, including Best Picture, Best Director for Hirokazu Kore-eda, Best Cinematography, and Best Lighting. The movie, based on a comic of the same name, portrays the life of four sisters of living in Kamakura city, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Kazuya Ninomiya was named Best Actor for his role in Haha To Kuraseba (母と暮らせば Living Together With Mother). Ninomiya has appeared in many films TV series in addition to being a member of ARASHI, one of the most popular boy bands in Japan. Ninomiya also appeared in the Clint Eastwood WWII drama, Letters From Iwo Jima, which was nominated for 4 Academy Awards.

Best Actress award was presented to Sakura Ando for her portrayal of a female boxer in Hyaku Yen No Koi (百円の恋 Romance of 100 Yen). Ando is the daughter of actor Eiji Okuda and the writer Kazu Ando. Best Supporting Actress was awarded to Hana Kuroki for Haha To Kuraseba. This is Kuroki’s second win in as many years, winning last year for Chiisai Ouchi (小さいお家 The Little House). She also took home the Silver Bear at the Berlin International  Film Festival in 2014. Best Supporting Actor was presented to Masahiro Motoki for playing the Japanese emperor in Nihon No Ichiban Nagai Hi (日本の一番長い日 The Longest Day of Japan). Motoki lives in London, returning to Japan only to work.

Best Foreign Picture was presented to American Sniper.

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