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|Awarded for||Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role|
|Presented by||Kinema Junpo|
|Website||Kinema Junpo Awards|
Many film journalist, from those working at trade papers to those at major dailies, spend months speculating about who will get Oscar nods and, as we get closer to the March 4 ceremony, who will win. Japan has its own Oscars. Japan Academy Prizes, which have been Award by Japan Academy Film Prize Association since 1978, will be handed out on March 2. Compared to hype overseas, however, interest from domestic media, critics and fans is mild and, on occasion, scathing. Speaking at TOKYO International Film Festival in 2014, actor and director Takeshi Kitano said that major studios, specifically Toho, Toei, Shochiku and sometimes Nikkatsu pass around among themselves, while mostly shutting out independents. How do Kitano think they pull it off? Japan Academy has a special voting category for so-call sanjo hojin, with employees of major film studios accounting for many of the categorys nearly 1 500 members. Since total voting membership, including directors and actors, is around 4 000, majors, whose employees presumably vote for their own companies products, cant dictate results, but their clout is significant. Public criticism of Japan Academy by as big name as Kitano is rare, likely because celebrities and agencies that represent them would rather work with majors than against them. At the same time, frenetic Hollywood-style awards season PR campaigns are conspicuous here by their absence. If a fix is in, as Kitano has claim, they do really need to expend effort. This year Japan Academy Prizes will be Award in 21 categories. Two films with the most nominations at 10 each, including Best picture, are Hirokazu Kore-edas legal drama Third Murder and Masato Haradas period actioner Sekigahara. Both were released by major distributors: Toho and Gaga for Kore-edas Film, Toho and Asmik Ace for Haradas. Neither is the sort of populist fare that has scooped large numbers of nominations in the past, though. Arguably, more prestigious awards in the Japans Film world are Kinema Junpo Best Ten Prizes, which were handed out this year on Feb. 12. Award since 1926 by Kinema Junpo, Japan's oldest film magazine, these prizes are currently based on a poll of about 120 critics, journalists and editors. Kinema Junpo also selected the top 10 lists for Japanese and foreign films. Some Japan Academy Prize nominees end up on Kinejun top 10 lists, but there is typically not much overlap. Out of five Japan Academy Best picture nominees this year, only Third Murder made it to Kinejun Best Ten. On other hand, magazine Best Japanese Film of 2017, Nobuhiko Obayashis wartime drama Hanagatami, received zero Japan Academy nominations. Even more out of synch with Japan Academy Prizes are Best Ten and Worst Ten polls conducted annually by Eiga Geijutsu, magazine edited by veteran scriptwriter Haruhiko Arai. However, media attention for those focuses on a list of so-call duds, which inevitably include films that were showered with praise at overseas festivals.
Masahiro was born in 1954 in Tokyo. In 1996, he won the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival Grand Prix with his directorial debut closing Time. With bootleg Film, Koroshi and man Walking on Snow, his work was shown at Cannes Film Festival for 3 consecutive years. After screening in competition at Cannes, Bashing was winner of Best Film Award at Tokyo Filmex, and also winner of Jury Special Prize at Fajr International Film Festival, Tehran. Rebirth won 4 Awards at Locarno Film Festival in 2007, including festivalas topprize, Golden Leopard Award. In 2010, Haruas Journey began by winning Best Film Prize at the Mainichi Film Awards, going on to win Audience Award and numerous prizes, including Best Picture and Best Director at Home and abroad. His latest film is Women on Edge.
Hirokazu Koreedas, Palme dOr winner, picked up another award in being officially named best movie of 2018 by prestigious Kinema Junpo magazine. This hard-hitting tale of modern lives on margin may have irritated all right people, but it also arrives at a pertinent moment coinciding with a very real series of societal failures leading to deaths of at-risk children and contributing to much needed debate as to society responsibility towards its most vulnerable citizens. Shoplifters also marks one of the last performances by the late Kirin Kiki, who was also recipient of the first Kinema Junpo special award.
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