Blue Ribbon Awards Announces Winners for 62nd Edition

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

Blue Ribbon Awards Announces Nominations for 62nd Edition

Katsuben still 1Presented by film critics and writers in Tokyo, the Blue Ribbon Awards has announced its nominations for the 62nd edition which honours films released in 2019. In addition to nominating a “best” picture, the best film long list will also be whittled down to a “best 10” when the polls close later this month. Winners are usually announced in advance of the prize giving ceremony which this year takes place on 18th February.

Best Film / “Best 10” 

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  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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 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.
  • The Journalist – political thriller starring Shim Eun-kyung as a reporter attempting to expose governmental corruption and Tori Matsuzaka as a conflicted civil servant.
  • Typhoon Family – family drama in which siblings reunite 10 years after their parents robbed a bank and disappeared.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • One Night – drama from Kazuya Shiraishi in which a scattered family reunites 15 years after one traumatic night.
  • Closed Ward – drama in which a murder occurs at a psychiatric hospital.
  • 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.

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 (Chiwawa, Fly 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

Sources: Eiga Natalie, Sports Hochi

One Cut of the Dead Triumphs at 61st Blue Ribbon Awards

One Cut of the DeadAhead of the official ceremony on 6th February, the Blue Ribbon Awards has released its list of winners for the 61st edition which honours films released in 2018. Runaway box office hit One Cut of the Dead (released on 28th January in the UK courtesy of Third Window Films) has taken the top spot while Kazuya Shirashi, who took last year’s prize for Birds Without Names, has retained the Best Director award for the three films he released last year – The Blood of Wolves, Dare to Stop Us, and Sunny (not to be confused with the remake of the Korean film by the same name which also makes it into the top 10).

Individual Awards

Best Film: One Cut of the Dead

Best Actor: Hiroshi Tachi (Life in Overtime)

Best Actress: Mugi Kadowaki (Dare to Stop Us)

Best Supporting Actor: Tori Matsuzaka (The Blood of Wolves)

Best Supporting Actress: Mayu Matsuoka (Shoplifters / Chihayafuru Part 3)

Best Newcomer: Sara Minami (Shino Can’t Say Her Name)

Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (The Blood of Wolves / Dare to Stop Us / Sunny)

Top 10

In addition to naming individual prizes, the Blue Ribbon Awards also reveals its “Best 10” films of the year which are presented in no particular order.

One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな!)

One Cut of the Dead still 1One Cut of the Dead has already devoured the Japanese box office and now finds itself the winner of the prestigious Blue Ribbon Award for best film. Opening with a 40 minute single take of zombie mayhem, this hilarious horror comedy begins with a film crew trying to make a zombie movie in an abandoned water filtration plant with a dark past only for some uninvited guests to turn up and join the fun…

Released in the UK by Third Window Films on 28th January.

The Chrysanthemum and the Guillotine (菊とギロチン)

chysanthemum and the guillotine still 1The recently prolific Takahisa Zeze retreats to the Taisho era for a tale of sumo and revolution as a band of anarchists known as the Guillotine Society find themselves fascinated by an itinerant troupe of female sumo wrestlers shortly after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.

The Blood of Wolves (孤狼の血)

blood of wolves still 1Kazuya Shirashi, winner of this year’s best director award, pays tribute to the world of Battles Without Honour in an ’80-style neo-noir in which a straight-laced rookie is partnered with a veteran rogue cop who leads him straight into the heart of darkness. Review.

Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai (SUNNY 強い気持ち・強い愛)

sunny japan bannerNot to be confused with Kazuya’s Shiraishi’s Sunny, Hitoshi Ohne’s Sunny: Tsuyoi Kimochi Tsuyoi Ai is a remake of the classic 2011 Korean film by Kang Hyeong-cheol in which a dying 40-year-old woman reunites with her high school friends from 1990 to relive her memories of a bubble-era adolescence.

Recall (空飛ぶタイヤ)

recall bannerA CEO discovers dark secrets about his own company when a tire comes off one of their trucks and kills a young mother.

Dare to Stop Us (止められるか、俺たちを)

dare to stop us still 1Another of three films released this year by Best Director winner Kazuya Shiraishi, Dare To Stop Us revolves around the legendary figure of Koji Wakamatsu – a hugely influential director of pink film who sadly passed away in 2012 following a traffic accident. Set at Wakamatsu Productions between 1969 and 1972, the film is told from the point of view of female crew member Megumi Yoshizumi, played by Best Actress winner Mugi Kadowaki.

Every Day a Good Day (日日是好日)

every day a good day still 1Starring the legendary Kirin Kiki in one of her final performances, Every Day a Good Day is inspired by the writings of Noriko Morishita and revolves around the serene elegance of the traditional tea ceremony.

Asako 1 & 2 (寝ても覚めても)

Aasako 1 & IIA conflicted young woman struggling to move on from lost love falls for a guy who looks just like her ex but can’t decide whether to embrace the fantasy of unresolved romance or the security of a steady relationship in Hamaguchi’s complex yet playful comedy drama adapted from the novel by Tomoka Shibasaki. Review.

Shoplifters (万引き家族)

Shoplifters still 2This year’s Palme d’Or winner, Shoplifters earns Hirokazu Koreeda another spot in the top 10 with a hard hitting tale of marginal lives and manufactured families which continues the long line of Japanese films asking what exactly family means in an increasingly disconnected society. Review.

Yakiniku Dragon (焼肉ドラゴン)

yakiniku dragon bannerDirected by third generation Zainichi director Wishing Chong, Yakiniku Dragon revolves around a Korean-Japanese family in the early ’70s who run a yakiniku restaurant on the outskirts of Osaka.

Source: Eiga Natalie

Wilderness Takes Best Film Prize at 60th Blue Ribbon Awards

wilderness poster

The Blue Ribbon Awards, awarded solely by film critics and writers, has announced its list of winners for 2017 ahead of the star studded ceremony which will take place in Tokyo on 8th February.

Individual Awards

Best Film: Wilderness

Best Director: Kazuya Shiraishi (Birds Without Names)

Best Actor: Sadao Abe (Birds Without Names)

Best Actress: Yui Aragaki (Mix)

Best Supporting Actor: Yusuke Santamaria (Wilderness / The Stand-In Thief)

Best Supporting Actress: Yuki Saito (The Third Murder)

Best Newcomer: Shizuka Ishibashi (The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue)

Top 10

In addition to its set of individual award winners, the committee also names its ten best pictures of the year which are presented in no particular order.

Wilderness (あゝ、荒野)

wilderness still 1Adapted from the 1966 novel by Shuji Terayama and released in two parts, Yoshiyuki Kishi’s A Double Life followup follows two men who find unexpected friendship while looking for release in the boxing ring.

Outrage Coda (アウトレイジ 最終章)

outrage coda stillThe third and presumably final instalment in the Outrage series, Coda sees actor/director Takeshi Kitano return to the role of Otomo now in exile in South Korea in an attempt to avoid ongoing gang strife at home.

The Tokyo Night Sky is Always the Densest Shade of Blue (夜空はいつでも最高密度の青色だ)

THE TOKYO NIGHT SKY IS ALWAYS THE DENSEST SHADE OF BLUE stillA love/hate letter to Tokyo, Yuya Ishii’s The Tokyo Night Sky is inspired by a collection of poems by Tahi Saihate and follows two lonely city souls as they struggle with their place in a society which they often feel has no place for them. Review.

Birds Without Names (彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち)

birds without names still 2Dawn of the Felines director Kazuya Shiraishi returns to the world of mystery in a tale of dark romance and destructive desires. Yu Aoi stars as a young woman, Towako, living with an older man (played by Sadao Abe) whom she despises but tolerates because he continues to support her. Towako, however, cannot forget a violent ex-lover who has been missing for the last eight years. Screening in the upcoming Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme.

Close-Knit (彼らが本気で編むときは,)

close-knit still 1A departure of sorts from the director’s earlier career, Close-Knit drops the whimsy but not the heart in telling a story of changing family dynamics and pleading for a kinder, more understanding world where all are free to live the way they choose without let or hinderance. Review.

Let Me Eat Your Pancreas (君の膵臓をたべたい)

let me eat your pancreas still 1Sho Tsukikawa adapts Yoru Sumino’s novel in which the unnamed protagonist finds a classmate’s diary and discovers that she is suffering with a terminal illness. The only person to know of her condition outside of her immediate family, the protagonist commits himself to fulfilling her last wishes while she still has time.

Gukoroku – Traces of Sin (愚行録)

gukoroku stillSatoshi Tsumabuki stars as a mild-mannered reporter investigating the murder of a model family while supporting his younger sister (Hikari Mitsushima) who is currently in prison charged with child neglect. Less a murder mystery than a dark social drama, the world of Gukoroku is one defined by unfairness in which pervasive systems of social inequality have destroyed the precious harmony the same society praises so highly. Review.

March Comes in Like a Lion (3月のライオン)

March comes in like a lion horizontal

Shogi is definitely back in fashion at the present moment. Keishi Ohtomo adapts Chica Umino’s popular manga in which an orphaned young man struggles with the regular problems of adolescence whilst also attempting to conquer the famously difficult world of this fiendish game. Review.

The Third Murder (三度目の殺人)

third murder horizontal posterHirokazu Koreeda makes a rare detour from the family drama for a high stakes legal thriller in which a veteran lawyer takes on the seemingly impossible task of defending a murder suspect who has already served time for violent crime and freely confesses his guilt, but the more the lawyer looks into the case the less confident he feels that his client is telling the truth.

Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High (帝一の國)

teiichi stillProlific young actor Masaki Suda stars in Akira Nagai’s adaptation of the manga by Usamaru Furuya in which Japan’s political future is decided at an elite military boarding school. Review.

Source: Eiga Natalie