The Blue Ribbon Awards, presented by film critics and writers in Tokyo, has announced the winners for the 62nd edition which honours films released in 2019. Crowd pleasing comedy Fly Me to the Saitama continues its awards season success by taking Best Film while Tetsuya Mariko picks up a best director award, and Kiichi Nakai and Masami Nagasawa take home Best Actor and Actress respectively. The awards will be presented at a prize giving ceremony at Iino Hall on 18th February.

The winners in full:

Best Film

Winner: Fly Me to the Saitama – broad comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority.

Best 10

“Best 13” because there was a four way tie. Presented in no particular order.

  • The Great War of Archimedes – wartime drama from the director of The Eternal Zero starring Masaki Suda as a maths genius trying to expose corruption in the military.
  • Welcome Back, Tora-san – 50th anniversary tribute to Yoji Yamada’s long running Tora-san series.
  • Talking the Pictures – Masayuki Suo’s tribute to the age of the “benshi” silent movie narrator.
  • Hit Me Anyone One More Time – latest from Koki Mitani in which a man gets a blow on the head and loses his memory only to be told he is actually the prime minister of Japan!
  • Kingdom – “wuxia” manga adaptation from blockbuster maestro Shinsuke Sato.
  • The Journalist – political thriller starring Shim Eun-kyung as a reporter attempting to expose governmental corruption and Tori Matsuzaka as a conflicted civil servant.
  • Weathering with You – latest animation from Makoto Shinkai in which a boy runs away from home and meets a girl who can control the weather.
  • Fly Me to the Saitama – broad comedy in which the residents of Saitama have become an oppressed minority.
  • Sea of Revival – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a man moves back to his partner’s home town but finds that trouble follows him.
  • One Night – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a scattered family reunites 15 years after one traumatic night.
  • Masquerade Hotel – mystery starring Takuya Kimura as a detective working undercover at a hotel where he clashes with front desk manager Masami Nagasawa as they try to catch a serial killer.
  • Listen to the Universe – adaptation of Riku Onda’s novel following four aspiring concert pianists directed by Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of Sin)
  • From Miyamoto to You – sequel to a TV drama directed by Tetsuya Mariko (Destruction Babies) starring Sosuke Ikematsu as a shy salesman who falls for Yu Aoi’s office worker.

Runners up

(titles from the long list which didn’t make the final cut. No particular order)

  • It Feels So Good – steamy drama from screenwriter Haruhiko Arai in which a bride-to-be (Kumi Takiuchi) reconnects with an old flame (Tasuku Emoto)
  • The Confidence Man JP – big screen outing for a TV drama starring Masami Nagasawa as a conwoman.
  • The Bucket List – Isshin Inudo’s remake of the US comedy starring Sayuri Yoshinaga and Yuki Amami as two terminally ill women who find the bucket list of a 12-year-old girl and decide to follow it.
  • 12 Suicidal Teens – 12 depressed teens meet in a disused hospital to die but discover new will to live after investigating a murder.
  • Typhoon Family – family drama in which siblings reunite 10 years after their parents robbed a bank and disappeared.
  • Another World – Three high school buddies reunite in their small-town home hoping to restore the easy bond of their adolescence while battling middle-aged disappointment in the latest from Junji Sakamoto.
  • Closed Ward – drama in which a murder occurs at a psychiatric hospital.

Best Director

Best Actor

  • Shingo Katori (Sea of Revival)
  • Masaki Suda (The Great War of Archimedes)
  • Kiichi Nakai (Hit Me Anyone One More Time)
  • Ryo Narita (Talking the Pictures)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (The Journalist, Iwane: Sword of Serenity)

Best Actress

  • Yu Aoi (A Long Goodbye)
  • Masami Nagasawa (The Confidence Man JP)
  • Fumi Nikaido (Fly Me to the Saitama)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Riho Yoshioka (Blind Witness)
  • Sayuri Yoshinaga (The Bucket List)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Go Ayano (Closed Ward)
  • Itsuji Itao (My Father, the Bride; The 47 Ronin in Debt)
  • Kiyohiko Shibukawa (Another World, Closed Ward)
  • Ryo Narita (ChiwawaFly Me to the Saitama, Farewell Song, No Longer Human)
  • Tori Matsuzaka (Listen to the Universe)
  • Ryo Yoshizawa (Kingdom)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Yuki Amami (The Bucket List)
  • Chizuru Ikewaki (Another World)
  • Nana Komatsu (Samurai Marathon, Closed Ward)
  • Masami Nagasawa (Masquerade Hotel, Kingdom)
  • Mayu Matsuoka (One Night)
  • MEGUMI (Typhoon Family; Little Nights, Little Love; One Night)

Best Newcomer

Best Foreign Film

Winner: Joker

Foreign Film Best 10

(11 because of a tie. No particular order)

  • Frozen 2
  • Aladdin
  • Yesterday
  • Green Book
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters
  • City Hunter (French live action movie)
  • Joker
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 
  • The Mule
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Runners up

(titles from the long list which didn’t make the final cut. No particular order)

  • The Irishman
  • The Spy Gone North
  • The Favourite
  • The Truth (Koreeda)
  • Toy Story 4
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Detective Pikachu
  • Lion King
  • Rocketman

Sources: Eiga Natalie, Sports Hochi

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