Triumph for “Drive My Car”: Japanese films and personalities awarded at the Oscars

Drive My Carby Hamaguchi Ryûsuke, won the prestigious prize for best international film at the 94and Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on March 27. The last time a Japanese film won an award in this category was 13 years ago, for Departures.

On March 27, the 94and Oscars ceremony was held at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. Drive My Carthe drama directed by Hamaguchi Ryûsuke, inspired by a short story by Murakami Haruki, won the jury’s favor by winning the prize for best international film.

In the 50s, Rashomon by Kurosawa Akira, The Gate of Hell by Kinugasa Teinosuke and The legend of Musashi by Inagaki Hiroshi have successively won the honorary Oscar awarded to a foreign film (the oldest title for this award), marking the golden age of Japanese cinema. Since then, many films have been nominated during the ceremonies without however managing to win the prize. Departuresby Takita Yōjirō, which won the Oscar for best foreign language film in 2009, marked Japan’s first victory in this category in more than half a century.

Japanese films that won an Oscar

2022 (94and ceremony) Oscar for best international film

Drive My Carby Hamaguchi Ryûsuke (see our article: “Drive My Car” by Hamaguchi Ryûsuke: a new master of Japanese cinema is causing a stir around the world)

Drive My Car, the feature film by Hamaguchi Ryûsuke. Actors Nakajima Hidetoshi, left, and Miura Tôko. (© 2021 Drive My Car production committee; Bitters End)

2009 (81and ceremony) Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film

Departuresby Takita Yojiro

The director of the film Departures, Takita Yōjirō, on the left, and its main actor, Motoki Masahiro, on the right.  (Reuters)
The movie director Departures, Takita Yôjirô, on the left, and its main actor, Motoki Masahiro. (Reuters)

2009 (81and ceremony) Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

The House in small cubesby Kato Kunio

Director Katô Kunio receives the award for best animated short.  (Reuters)
Director Katô Kunio receives the award for best animated short. (Reuters)

2003 (75and ceremony) Oscar for best animated film

Spirited awayby Miyazaki Hayao (see our article: “Spirited Away”: deciphering a masterpiece on the occasion of its 20and anniversary)

Spirited Away (© Studo Ghibli)
Spirited away (© Studio Ghibli)

1999 (71and ceremony) Oscar for Best Documentary Short Film

The Personals: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Yearsby Ibi Keiko

1956 (28and ceremony) Honorary Oscar awarded to a foreign film

The Legend of Musashiby Inagaki Hiroshi

1955 (27and ceremony) Honorary Oscar awarded to a foreign film

The Gate of Hellby Kinugasa Teinosuke

1952 (24and ceremony) Honorary Oscar awarded to a foreign film

Rashomondirected by Kurosawa Akira

Japan has also won several individual awards in the past. Actress Umeki Miyoshi (known as singer Nancy Umeki) was the first Japanese woman to receive the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1958 for the American film Sayonara. The famous musician Sakamoto Ryūichi won the Oscar for best film music in 1988 for The Last Emperor. In 1986, Wada Emi won the Oscar for best costume design, for his work on the film Ran by Kurosawa Akira. Ishioka Eiko also won the award in this category in 1993 for Dracula, by Francis Ford Coppola. In 2018 and 2020, Tsuji Kazuhiro was awarded twice in the “Makeup and hairstyles” category.

Finally, an honorary Oscar was awarded in 1990 to Kurosawa Akira and in 2015 to Miyazaki Hayao.

(Title photo: Hamaguchi Ryûsuke, winner of the Oscars on March 27 for Drive My Car. Reuters)

We wish to give thanks to the author of this article for this outstanding content

Triumph for “Drive My Car”: Japanese films and personalities awarded at the Oscars